Stories about journalism

Silencing the ink: Gauri Lankesh, a fearless journalist of courage

Gauri Lankesh’s Facebook profile picture that features Rohith Vemula, with the caption ‘Punish the culprits’, gives you an idea of the kind of person she was – fearless. Posted by Gauri Lankesh on Monday, January 18, 2016 The 55-year-old senior journalist was shot dead outside her residence in Ideal Home Layout in Rajarajeswari Nagar, Bengaluru, late yesterday evening. Not one to soften the blows Lankesh was known for her radical views and was gutsy about embracing ideologies that were not very compatible with the powers that be. She was not one to soften her blows using a velvet glove while her approach to everything in life ...

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Not all Indians are rapists just like not all Pakistanis are terrorists

As a Pakistani, I always thought of the Indian media as anti-Pakistani and excessively nationalistic. So when I recently got the opportunity to work with Indian journalists, I was not sure what to expect. I was on my way to London for the Chevening/South Asia Journalism Fellowship. The program brought 17 leading journalists from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives to live and work together in London for two months. Getting off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I wondered what it would be like to have a frank conversation with an Indian journalist. India is almost four times the size of Pakistan, yet their news media seem to be obsessed ...

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Noor: Another movie that proves book adaptations never work out

Perhaps the notion that ‘no movie can come close to its book’ holds true for all movies and especially so for the recently released, ‘Noor’. The movie, adapted from Saba Imtiaz’s novel ‘Karachi, You’re Killing Me!’ narrates the life of Noor Roy Chaudhary (Sonakshi Sinha) who dreams of making it big in the field of journalism. Her big, round glasses may make her look nerdy but her acting is just average. Noor has spent most of her career covering small and insignificant events but she dreams big; she aspires to cover a story so spectacular that it would transform her status as a reporter. ...

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Panamagate: Why are offshore companies such a big deal?

So it has finally come to this; a new five-judge larger bench, daily hearings and two adversaries baying for each other’s blood. Back in December, after a flurry of preliminary hearings of Panama Papers, the larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had hinted that the formation of an inquiry commission was now a real prospect. The new larger bench announced that the proceedings would be held on a daily basis, after the court’s annual winter vacations have come to an end. With the ex-Chief Justice gone, having reached superannuation in December, there has been a new bench, with ...

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Pakistan, where merit takes a backseat and connections take the wheel

Growing up as the child of a journalist isn’t easy. Especially when your father was a struggling reporter in the 90s and Karachi was at its most violent. But apart from the violent riots and massive chaos during that time, journalism in the 90s was extremely different from what it is now; there were no social media connections, no online submissions and no Snapchat stories to pass off as reportage. You had to arrive at an office during the evening, start your work in the dead of the night because the ‘morning’ newspaper was where everyone got their news from. Life wasn’t easy for ...

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It’s mourning in Kashmir

My confusion regarding whether the explosions were Eid crackers or gunshots was short-lived; slogans followed the shots, which are a rarity in the uptown area of Srinagar, where I live. I rushed downstairs to hear my father announce that Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, had been killed in an encounter. My mother looked at me in a way that suggested she needed to hear it wasn’t true. I didn’t know yet. I quickly checked my phone and saw missed calls from my friends and fellow journalists. Sheikh Saaliq, who works with Hindustan Times had called. Kyah chu karun (what do we do). Between the shock and ...

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If the army has cleared the agency of all militants, then what is there to hide in South Waziristan?

The Pakistan Army has been fighting valiantly against the scourge of terrorism. There can be no words that can fully express the debt of gratitude that one feels towards our soldiers for having done what they have done to protect the people of Pakistan from the nefarious designs of these “holy warriors.” That being said, what comes next is an arduous task. The frontier of Pakistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) will continue to pose a challenge unless and until something is drastically done on a political and national level to integrate them fully into Pakistan. They must not be ...

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Targeting beyond China: They took my family into custody to intimidate me

On March 27, Chinese police crashed my father’s 70th birthday party in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. They accused my family of causing a forest fire the day before by lighting incense and burning paper as part of the annual tomb-sweeping festival to honour deceased relatives. Three of my siblings were summoned to the police station and found out quickly that they were not being detained over an arson charge. As an exiled Chinese journalist living in Germany, I had written an article in mid-March for Deutsche Welle criticising the Chinese government for “secretly kidnapping” a journalist, Jia Jia, in connection with a widely distributed open ...

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2170 days

It was a cold sunny morning, in March 2010, when I was given the opportunity to work with a young dynamic team that would be a part of an upcoming newspaper. We, as a small team at our Islamabad office, had started telling people that we were working for The Express Tribune, a paper affiliated with the New York Times, to be launched in a couple of months. “We don’t know what newspaper you guys are talking about,” almost everybody responded. “We will talk to you when this paper actually launches.” To our horror, most of the people we called slammed their phones on ...

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We know more about Tashfeen Malik today than we’ve ever known about any of the other 354 shooters

Have you heard of a guy named Kenneth Morgan Stancil III? The man who confessed to the mass shooting that took place in April 2015, at the Wayne Learning Centre in Goldsboro, North Carolina, USA? Do you know which school he went to or where he developed such a ‘lone-wolf attitude’? ‘Lone-wolf and not extremist, obviously; he was white. Do we know who radicalised him or why he became so intolerant towards his very own society? Do we know why he deemed killing people the only way to prove his point? No, we don’t. Because back in April, when this incident took place, none of these ...

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