When anchors like Bukhari are fired, they are re-hired because of their PR. Both Maya Khan of the date-catching fame and Aamir Liaqat of the Ghalib film have joined ARY TV
A few weeks back the off-camera footage of an interview with real estate tycoon Malik Riaz on Dunya TV, conducted by presenters Mehar Bukhari and Mubashar Luqman, reached YouTube. This prompted a surge of excitement across an already dramatic media-scape. The whole episode has been fashionably dubbed as the Mediagate.
This is not the first time a behind-the-camera footage has mysteriously surfaced on Internet. Televangelist Aamir Liaqat Hussain’s video is a case in point. We all loved it and gave each other that "See! I told you" look. But we need to be more critical now.
Firstly, the assumption that the source of the Mediagate was a responsible whistleblower could be wrong. He could have simply taken advantage of the footage for the sake of money. Secondly, one wonders if leaking the video on YouTube was ethical and legal?
The outcome, nonetheless, was amusing. Malik Riaz was forced to recoil. The ‘politically correct’ Supreme Court (SC) ruling in this regard appeased the media. [However, some analysts fear that Malik Riaz will strike back even more fiercely soon.] A suo moto notice was taken by the SC about this apparent "conspiracy" Dunya TV was found meddling in. Most of the Dunya team then came about defending their management. Even the director programs at Dunya TV leapt forward, saying that Nixon used to "plant" questions beforehand in his press conferences and this was a usual media practice.
The director probably never heard of the Watergate Scandal which two journalists broke in more or less the same manner Bukhari-Luqman were exposed.
Amusingly, even Luqman and Bukhari spent a lot of time clearing their management of this charge, without knowing that people now believe exactly the opposite of what they say.
The best fall-out happened between Dunya and Luqman. Probably because Luqman's confession about being pressurized into all this went on air. Luqman always presents himself as the brave person who fears nothing and candidly says the truth. His behind the scene coziness with a tainted real estate tycoon and his casual jokes during such a significant interview were quite shocking. Most people have released their anger on Luqman's twitter in rather unflattering language.
Throughout his career, Luqman has openly been ISI fanboy, PTI lover (interviewing Imran a few weeks back, just as sweetly as he interviewed Riaz) and anti-democracy. Sad to see that no one from the PTI came forward to defend him even if he addressed an Insaf Student Federation function sometime ago.
In the name of truthfulness Luqman trashed Najam Sethi twice, who then sent him a court notice. The Punjab government was also maligned by Luqman's show on its "Laptop Scheme". He did not bother having PMLN's version. The PMLN also moved the court against him. In his shoddy defence, Luqman couldn't do more than denying everything he said in the leaked video.
Meher Bukhari has fared better. Dunya TV didn't fire her. She refuted everything within 24 hours of the video's release. Her best bet was the argument that everyone does the same, cuddles the guest into telling them what they want to know, in return allowing a few questions of the guests' choice. And then she brought the two most credible politicians she could find- Qamar-uz- Zaman Qaira and Khawaja Asif.
Meher Bukhari should not have been hired by Dunya TV in the first place. She was removed from Samaa TV because of her active role in provoking Salman Taseer's murder. In November 2010, Bukhari invited Taseer to clarify his stance on blasphemy. Instead, her hunger for popularity took over and she sat there as a public prosecutor, convinced that Aasia Bibi had committed blasphemy and that Taseer was in favor of it. Any argument and justification by Taseer was dismissed by Bukhari. Taseer was already convicted in her view. Eventually, in her show she also aired a death fatwa against Taseer.
Ironically, when her photos came out posing intimately with the American embassy staffers, Taseer had given everyone a shut-up call and Bukhari was writing in Daily Times, the liberal newspaper Taseer founded.
In August last year, Nawaz Sharif spoke at a SAFMA seminar. He urged peace between India and Pakistan. Bukhari brought the pseudo security expert Zaid Hamid on her show. Both dismissed all these peace efforts in the name of the two-nation theory and partition massacre. The girl has clearly not moved beyond 1947.
When anchors like Bukhari are fired, they are re-hired because of their PR. Both Maya Khan of the date-catching fame and Aamir Liaqat of the Ghalib film have joined ARY TV.
A ban on these people will not be very liberal but since these anchors are hate-mongers and up for sale, we must expose and challenge them.
As for Bukhari and Luqman, they need to seek lessons from their Indian counterpart Burkha Dutt, who was much more eloquent and dramatic in her refutations when the RADA tapes conspiracy broke out.
|Ammara Ahmad is one of the editors of Viewpoint, she tweets at @AmmaraTiger|