The News:Safma sends defamation notices to TV channel officials, Zaid Hamid. August 24,2011

LAHORE: The South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) has sent defamation notices to a TV channel officials and analyst Zaid Hamid over malicious accusations made in a show.
Sent by Safma Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and Safma Punjab President Anjum Rashid through senior advocate Abid Hasan Minto, the legal notices under Section 8 of Defamation Ordinance 2002 quoted the “defamatory and inflammatory remarks” Zaid Hamid made in the show on August 16, 2011 and repeated on August 17 and 18.
The remarks have caused resentment among leading media persons and civil society. Safma branches in other provinces will also issue libel notices. “By representing through your conduct, gestures and words that you promoted and supplemented the unfounded, false, baseless and defamatory remarks of Mr. Hamid against Safma, you have caused an irreparable harm to my clients and furthered his accusations against a worthy media body that is recognized by SAARC for its good work as its associated body,” the notices to the TV officials said.
The Rs 100 million damages, which the South Asian Free Media Association sought to be paid within seven days, will be “spent on media education and promotion of media ethics”, the notices said. If the respondents fail to respond to the notices, the South Asian Free Media Associationwill initiate civil and criminal proceedings against them, the notices said.

Source: The News

Daily Dawn:Kudos and Condemnation by Kamran Shafi. August 23, 2011

WHAT else this week but loud applause for Nawaz Sharif for so courageously advocating peace with India at a recently held seminar ‘Building bridges in the subcontinent’ in Lahore?

And utter condemnation for a private TV channel’s vitriolic host and her hate-filled red-capped guest who is known to be a propagandist of the Deep State, for their shrill and nasty attacks upon the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) that arranged the seminar, generally, and Mr Sharif particularly, merely because he held out the hand of friendship to India?

The anchor did not stop at denigrating the former prime minister; she also attacked President Asif Ali Zardari for saying some years ago, soon after he became president, that India was not the main threat to our country, that the enemy was within. What angered one in the extreme was these two suggesting that any mention of peace with India amounted to treason, was against the two-nation theory, and every other nonsense trotted out by the establishment to seize the narrative on every aspect of Pakistan’s relations with its most important neighbour.

I have heard Mr Sharif’s speech in its entirety and found it to be warmly worded, sincere and laced with an earthy humour that so stirred our Indian friends who were present there. It was a speech that should have been made by a man who as prime minister had the Indian prime minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, come to Lahore and give a friendly and conciliatory speech at Minar-i-Pakistan, no less, calling for peace and amity between India and Pakistan.

It was a speech that should have been made by a man who was let down by his own chief of army staff, who stabbed his Indian partner-in-peace in the back during the very days India and Pakistan were talking of improving relations, by mounting the mindless and stupid adventure called Kargil.

It was a speech that should have been made by a man who understands that there is no way forward for Pakistan or/and India without peace and friendship between the two. Indeed, Nawaz Sharif was right to say that whilst India had held several inquiries on (its forces being caught unprepared in) Kargil no inquiry was allowed to be held in Pakistan (on why the operation was mounted at all).

So what then so exercised the compere and her guest so much that they went off the deep end? What was so wrong with Nawaz Sharif saying that since India and Pakistan were neighbours one had to look out for the other just as our religion and culture teach us?

What was so wrong when he said that Indians and Pakistanis shared the same culture, even food? And that the border was just a line on the ground? And that instead of competing in arming ourselves with the weapons of war we should compete in the field of industry and business and commerce. What was so wrong in saying that God, who is Rab ul Alimeen was the Rab (God) of all mankind, and not Rab ul Muslimeen, the God of Muslims only?

Whilst most of the diatribe heard on the programme was disgusting, the most gut-wrenching was when the anchor dismissed the part about Indians and us eating the same food by asserting that Hindus worshipped what we ate i.e. beef! The question to ask is: when did she and her guest last visit India and interact with Indian (well alright, Hindu) friends?

The question to ask is: did the compere and her violent guest say what they said because they wanted to say it, or to parrot the Deep State’s line that India (and all those who sail in it) is enemy number one of Pakistan? That there can be no peace ever with India, and that anyone who says anything to the contrary is a traitor and worse?

It was instructive too to see the red-capped extremist, and by implication the TV channel, throw all caution to the winds by alleging that Safma was a RAW-funded organisation. I ask you! Whilst one has often asked the Deep State to rein in its lackeys aka the bright young things, the conspiracy theorists extraordinary who see RAW/Mossad/CIA behind every bush, this really takes the cake.

It is no wonder that 51 (and growing) respected and most senior journalists have condemned the canard and lie, and Safma has threatened legal action against the channel, the compere and her team, and the so-called analyst for defamation. While I add my name to the list of those who condemn this calumny, it is simply not enough to merely sue the so-called analyst, him with the red cap. He is but a puppet; it is his puppeteers who must be unmasked and dragged into the daylight. For there are many more like him, fed on government moneys expropriated by the Deep State for its own purposes and dark doings.

Such as sending out messages of hate and rancour to the world at large, and particularly to India and the US with Israel thrown in for good measure. The Internet is full of their rantings and ravings, going to the extent of holding out threats of using our bum on imagined enemies.

Which straightaway brings me to say what I have said so many times before: our political leaders must stay together, and arm-in-arm fight the monstrous Deep State. Otherwise, first one, then the other.

Source: Daily Dawn

SAFMA to sue Zaid Hamid for Labeling the Organization a RAW Agent – Express Tribune August 19, 2011

The South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) has condemned as “lies” an accusation made on television by Zaid Hamid that it has links to Indian agency the Research and Analysis Wing.

In its statement, SAFMA said leading media personalities had taken serious exception to the unfounded accusations made by Hamid against a media body of credible journalists of the South Asian region in a talk show hosted by Mehr Bukhari that violated all ethics of professional journalism. If Hamid, the press release said, has committed extreme defamation to incite public sentiment against SAFMA and its thousands of members, Bukhari, the Crossfire team, and the TV management had intentionally tried to malign the media body and its leaders by allowing such a provocative and damaging statement.

The media representatives, the press release said, expressed their serious concern over Crossfire’s slanderous programme anchored by Bukhari while taking exception to the dangerous trend in the electronic media of maligning various personalities and credible organisations. What is quite despicable, the press release further said, is that Hamid, Bukhari and her team, and the owner of the TV channel did not have the decency to invite a SAFMA representative to rebut the allegations aired by the TV channel.

The press release said senior journalists had endorsed SAFMA’s decision to sue the so-called analyst, anchor, her team, and the management of the TV channel. SAFMA office bearers have decided to issue libel notices to the concerned accusers and make them pay for their conduct, the press release added. PRESS RELEASE

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.

Source: Express Tribune