Stories about social media

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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Is it okay to awaken the dead to settle a score with Adnan Sami Khan?

Last Monday, a young writer by the name of Ahsan Mehmood wrote a hypothetical letter  from Adnan Sami Khan’s (ASK) deceased father to his son for a newsblog called The Weekly Pakistan. The letter was written in response to a tweet from Adnan in which he congratulated the Indian armed forces and PM Modi on a “successful surgical strike against terror”. Big Congratulations to @PMOIndia & our brave Armed forces for a brilliant, successful & mature strategic strike against #terrorism ! #Salute — Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) September 29, 2016 The letter essentially consisted of the father, a decorated PAF officer, talking about ...

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What if Brangelina were a Pakistani couple?

Just heard the horrendous news that you two have decided to split up. I would really like to sympathise with you but got tied up with pulling in all my winning bets that your marriage wouldn’t last even this long. Hate to say it, but it would have been better if you two hadn’t gotten married at all. I mean, you lasted longer without marriage and while rounding up six kids. So really can’t figure out why you had to take the hassle of getting married in the first place. Don’t take this personally, but the western society at large seems to have an obsession ...

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The EU multi-ethnic European military force will only be effective on paper

The European Union (EU) seems set for another cul-de-sac of quarrels over the hastily tossed military salad of EU battle groups with rotating battalions and leadership. Accordingly, Hungary and the Czech Republic have openly called for the creation of an EU army, strongly opposed by the United Kingdom. On this issue, the Council of Europe would be well advised to define policy, delegate the business to France, and sit back. Four issues have made a re-evaluation of the need and role of European direct military intervention an imperative of defence and security which only French expertise can ensure. Firstly, acts of terrorism on European soil have diverted the ...

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In the Skin of a Jihadist: Investigative journalism gone wrong

In the Skin of a Jihadist is a book about a young French journalist’s fascinating look at how contemporary terrorists use social media and technology to reach disillusioned youth. This is witnessed through the undercover investigation that led to the journalist’s deep involvement with a key member of ISIS. On Facebook, Melodie – a 20-year-old convert to Islam, living with her mother and sister in Toulouse – meets Bilel, a French-born, high-ranking militant for the Islamic State in Syria. Within days, Bilel falls in love with Melodie, they Skype repeatedly, and he adamantly urges her to come to Syria, marry him, and take part in jihad. ...

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On Twitter, Nazis have a follower count greater than ISIS

Regardless of how much the Muslim community screams blue murder that Islam is not the sole proprietor of religious extremism and terrorism, it takes the research of a non-Muslim terrorism analyst to convince the world. The latest study by J M Berger of George Washington University reveals that the singularly focused spotlight of social media sites upon Islamic extremist groups has only allowed thousands of white nationalist and pro-Nazi groups to mushroom unchecked right beneath their noses. Where sites like Twitter and Facebook continue to act with supreme diligence in sweeping their platforms clean of Islamic extremist elements, they remain dreadfully perfunctory ...

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Skirting the real issue

In a long line of Indian ministers (past and present), each has focused more on sycophancy and less on efficiency. But there’s a current joker in the pack – it is not what he does, instead his words just happen to always speak louder than his actions. Meet Mahesh Sharma, a first time member of Parliament from the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), who in his dominant avatar as India’s culture minister, is setting some benchmarks that should never be emulated. Since discretion is not his forte, Sharma’s new gem has been a far from polite advisory to foreigners visiting India. In ...

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Nerve: It’ll surely get on your nerves

With the Pokémon Go epidemic sweeping worldwide (which is getting people to run into traffic while looking at their smartphones) it seems the timing for Nerve could not have been better. It is a thriller about people performing embarrassing and increasingly death-defying stunts in the name of a shadowy online game in an attempt to gain popularity and cash. Emma Roberts stars as Vee, a high school senior who lives on Staten Island with her clingy but hardworking mother Nancy (Juliette Lewis). Vee is afraid to tell her mom that she wants to go across the country to an arts college in California because she is ...

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Push-ups and swag won’t impress us Sardar Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar

After sitting on the throne for more than eight years as the Chief Minister of Sindh, Mr Qaim Ali Shah was finally dethroned and is now replaced by Murad Ali Shah. The new chief minister tried to inject some urgency in the Sindh government with his actions. In my view, Mr Shah has taken a step in the right direction – more than half of the current government’s term has already gone by, and Sindh has only witnessed a further deterioration in various fields such as health, sports, education and waste disposal. The newly inducted chief minister also expanded his ...

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Semi-naked cakes: An absolute must try

I can recall how immense the hype for naked and semi-naked cakes was around the same time last year. I failed to understand why anyone would prefer to eat cake with a portion of the frosting missing, it simply bewildered me. However, once photographs of dainty caked draped in flowers and drizzled with all forms of wonderful sauces started flooding social mediums, I finally caved in. If it weren’t for my family friend’s son’s first birthday and her request to bake a semi-naked cake to go with the fauna and khaki theme, then this cake would not be before your ...

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