Stories about journalists

Is being unemployed better than being employed?

My life has taken a 360 degree turn and I am still grappling with huge adjustments – adjustments like the fact that I cannot stay logged onto Facebook incessantly or the centre of the universe for me is no longer my mood. After aeons of freelance work, where I could shuffle and manage work according to my own whims and desires, I am now working full-time. Regular eight hours a day, six days a week. Strangely enough, I am surviving. Not only am I surviving, the fact that my body clock had to re-start to a new schedule, I now find myself dosing off ...

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Kasab coverage in the Indian media

Unlike the Pakistani media that reported the hanging of Ajmal Kasab sparingly, the Indian media featured the story very prominently all day yesterday. I can vouch for the fact that for Indian television and online journalists it was a busy field day. Literally, all angles of the story were covered – the actual hanging, the mercy petition, 26/11 survivors, 26/11 martyrs and Kasab’s last wish. One of the reasons that got many elders in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to watch television news was the invincible dumbing down spirit that India TV, a 24 hour Hindi news channel, exhibits time and again. ...

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Recognising journalists: Only an international trait?

On October 31, the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) Pakistan was awarded a human rights award by a German organisation in a ceremony held in Berlin. The union president, Safdar Dawar, a native of Miramshah, North Waziristan, accepted the award on behalf of the union, his fellow journalists in Fata and all his colleagues who were killed while on duty. When I first met him, he shared with me the story of his abduction by the intelligence agencies in Khost, Afghanistan in early 2000. He was released nine hours later following intervention by some influential people, and after he was ...

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Dearth of international action in Pakistan is killing our sports writers

Unable to host international teams has many repercussions — your players are always on the road; the budding ones don’t get enough chances to impress; the closest the crowd can get to the action depends on the size of the TV screens, and the federations’ cash-flow is heavily affected. The many biryani wallahs, chat wallahs and rickshaw wallahs miss out on their third Eid, too. However, going through the many emails and articles on a daily basis, it has been discovered that the dearth of international action in Pakistan is also destroying the future of its sports writers. While domestic players lose out on ...

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From the dark and dreary world of a journalist

Working for a newspaper tends to change a person. I’ve yet to figure out if it’s for the better. I do know that the few odd months before I started working here I was a different person in many ways. These are not only changes you see when you look at yourself in the mirror – the few times you do look in the mirror because the first thing that seems to go is your sense of self-worth – but traits and mannerisms which others point out did not exist before. I don’t know if other newspapers follow the same rule ...

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I refuse to lose my religion!

What about the rest of us? Meaning the living; those of us who have to make a living, those who have to get to work despite knowing that there is a fair chance we might get shot at for not showing enough solidarity. How do you express solidarity through violence for a system that is about peace in times of chaos, anyway? I was supposed to be angry today. I was, still am. I am fuming, in fact, because I work for a newspaper and part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water. I managed to do ...

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A journalists advice on press conferences

When attending a press conference, be wary of casting a friendly smile or fiercely penning down notes in your notebook … refrain yourself from lifting your head to track the chain of growing whispers and strictly contain the urge of investigating it for these are all the signs of a tragic narrative in the making. It all begins with a gesture of friendship and idle chatter about the growing need for young people in the field. And, just as you decide to let down your guard and let slip the word that you, too, are one of the fresh inductees, ...

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Reporting from FATA: A difficult feat and not enough in return

The tribal areas of Pakistan, from where news outflow makes headlines all over the world, focuses largely on the war on terror. Journalists reporting from the region say they are being neglected, even though they have to risk their lives to report day-to-day affairs from the war-torn area. A journalist from Kurram Agency’s restive area says the biggest issue facing journalists from the tribal region is financial security. According to him, journalists never get staff status in this area and work as stringers receiving low salaries. Additionally, journalists in Peshawar and Islamabad use the information provided by tribal journalists and ...

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Let the journalists do their job please

It’s a very thin line on which we journalists stand. It is the dangerous rope of right and wrong. Generally, it is assumed that journalists take sides and that we are either party to one crowd or another, even when we are being very frank in stating the facts as they are. The other day, I reported on the work of a fashion designer while avoiding any criticism on the highly-priced outfits and such, but lo and behold I get a call and am told not to criticise his “bread and butter”. I, for one, have no right to pass judgment ...

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A press club: No fair play, no accountability and no dialogue

The outside world hardly knows about all that goes on at a press club. Many mistake a press club for the press itself and think that it is a place reserved for healthy and constructive dialogue. I thought the same until very recently when the paper I worked for wound up and I started to spend some time at the National Press Club (NPC), Islamabad. Rest assured that what happens here is everything but dialogue, fair play, accountability, equality and all that our media, ostensibly calls for. Let’s start with the dubious case of its membership. Nobody knows when the press ...

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