» Bowing to The General’s pressure, UAE has shut down Geo TV transmissions from Dubai. Even though it was shut from cable, Pakistanis could catch Geo over satellite or the internet. Not any more. Prior to November 3rd, the people in Pakistan could enjoy news and analysis from Dawn News, Aaj, Geo, Ary One World, as well as BBC World, CNN and Al-Jazeera. They now have PTV – the state channel. The White House says they are “bothered.”
It is shameful that such a “progressive” and “capitalist-friendly” nation such as the United Arab Emirates has succumbed to the pressure from the Pakistan State. I can wager, though, that they didn’t need too much convincing. The role of media (TV and the internets) in the upheaval against the dictatorial regime in Pakistan cannot be stressed highly enough. It is not simply the fact that these channels have carried live footage of riots and police brutality since February 2007 into the living rooms of millions of Pakistanis. More pointedly, it is the sharply delineated public space that has emerged in news-analysis and commentary pieces since 2004. Al-Jazeera deserves tremendous credit for changing the face of media, and one of the seismic changes was in Pakistan. Sitting in the United States, with a TV media that is as fiercely scripted by market and ideological forces as anything the politburo could have imagined, it is hard to conceive of government officials, opposition folks, intellectuals and live call-ins mingling on the same stage. Often vehemently. UAE is protecting its own royal future.
Watch this broadcast on the attack on the Geo office in Islamabad on March 16th, 2007. The anchor Kamran Khan is speaking on the phone with the Minister (at 2:12): What are you doing? What are you doing, Mr. Minister? What is your goverment doing? These scenes are not just being seen in Pakistan but across the world, Mr. Muhammad Ali Durrani. You have spent your life in this country, have you ever seen such a spectacle? You are the minister of information and broadcasting, what will you do? Stay there and protect our workers.
Or just watch this, broadcast on AAJ tv on the program Bolta Pakistan (Pakistan Speaking):
I could never imagine even a portion of such critiques leveled at the politicians of this country on our TV channels.
» Nawaz Sharif has an op-ed in WaPo, Pakistan’s One-Man Calamity. Very Hemingwayesque. I would like to see Mian ji back in Pakistan and contesting with Bibi. Bhutto’s niece, Fatima Bhutto, had a piece in the LAT, Aunt Benazir’s false promises which is more Dorothy Parker than Hemingway. (Fatima Bhutto sadly failed to introduce “Auntie” to the American audience. Auntie Benazir. Not Aunt Benazir).
» No word yet on what Negroponte really said to The General.