September Issue 2010

By | Opinion | Speaker's Corner | Published 14 years ago

You would expect defending the reputation of what is apparently the ‘most dangerous country in the world’ to be the most gruelling task. But strangely enough, the difficulty of doing so has been mitigated since I get so much practice. No, contrary to what the western media may want to believe, I am not suggesting that Pakistan is incessantly involved in heinous activities. Perhaps what might be responsible for my unmatched experience in protecting my country’s name is the fact that it is highlighted in every corner of the western media.

As outrageous as it may sound, the recurrence of the word ‘Pakistan’ is not because it’s the number one tourist destination; it’s because it is the first country that comes to mind when one thinks of crime, drug trafficking and, wait for it, terrorism. Honestly, I’m beginning to think that whenever a newspaper runs short of articles for its next issue, it arbitrarily chooses to magnify another one of Pakistan’s trivial issues.

An article that redefines “unnecessary,” “irrelevant” and “ignorant” is a Fox News article from July in which Pakistan was termed as the country that had the most pornographic searches on Google. Essentially, this article’s prime focus was to prove that Pakistan is ultimately a pornography-obsessed nation in which each person seems to have a perverse mindset. It is peculiar that the writer of this ‘esteemed’ company diverted so drastically from what she claimed was the original purpose of her article — to expose the hypocrisy of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). What’s even more mind-boggling about this article is the fact that its only form of research is through “Google Trends” and “Google Insights” — tools on Google that have been described by their manufacturers to be solely for “interesting and entertaining” purposes. The website specifically states that the data “contains inaccuracies for a number of reasons.” Also, it is crucial that Fox News understands how Google works — generally one would search on Google if one is unfamiliar with the subject one is searching for. Perhaps countries like the US have advanced from Google searches to adult-specific search engines, which explains why they are never on these lists of ten. It was at this point that Fox’s slogan, ‘Fair & Balanced,’ began to ring hollow and seem rather ironic.

Incidentally, only five per cent of our population uses the internet, so how could anyone vouch for the authenticity of the so-called facts in Fox’s article?

Another critical fact which the writer failed to mention was that although these searches were dominated by Pakistanis, Pakistan was not where the content originated. Most pornography in the world originates from first-world countries like the US (a country in which every 39 minutes a new adult-film is being created). Yet it is Pakistan’s name that should be changed to ‘Pornistan,’ according to this article.

The comments this report has drawn is clearly indicative of how blindly people tend to follow the western media. From people ignorant enough to assume that Pakistanis spoke Farsi to those who chose to use this as an opportunity to bash Islam, there was a wide selection of hateful (yet incredibly amusing) comments.

In a world where Pakistan has gained notoriety for innumerable negative things, the last thing the country needs is more stereotyping. From this one article to almost every report about Pakistan on its channel, Fox News has consistently tried to portray it as one of the most backward and disgusting nations in the world. Their journalists, who engage in frivolous banter on live television, openly project their hatred towards Pakistanis and Muslims — that too, in the most immature and childish manner. It is primarily because of these slanted viewpoints, which have become ubiquitous, that the impressionable viewers have amplified their hatred towards Pakistanis.

Fortunately for Pakistan, Google issued an official statement that said it does not support the outrageous claims made by Fox News because the data sample is far too small to reach a definitive conclusion. The Pakistani government ought to sue Fox News for defamation, considering the vehemently anti-Pakistan feedback that was present in the comments.

One question regarding the Fox News story continues to disturb me: why was a journalist of this apparently professional media group typing phrases such as ‘horse sex’ into Google’s search-bar?

Wouldn’t it be so much more efficient if reporters like her stopped horsing around and got down to some serious work?

Speaker’s Corner is a forum for reader’s views. Readers are invited to send in contributions on any subject under the sun. Contributions should be between 600-1,000 words and may be edited for space and clarity. The views expressed in these columns do not necessarily reflect Newsline’s editorial policy.

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