Central & South Asia

Pakistani media apologise to military and ISI

Abject and lengthy apology relates to coverage of attack on Hamid Mir, a prominent journalist shot multiple times.

Last updated: 26 May 2014 09:15
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Talk show host Hamid Mir has survived several assassination attempts [EPA]

Two Pakistani daily newspapers have said sorry to the country's armed forces for their "excessive, distressful and emotional" coverage of an attack on Hamid Mir, a prominent journalist shot multiple times last month by unknown attackers.

The Daily Jang and The News printed the front page apologies on Monday for their reporting of April's incident, in which Mir suffered bullet wounds to the stomach and upper legs.

Mir works for Geo, a private Pakistani channel owned by the Jang Group, which also owns the two print titles.

He and Geo claimed the assassination attempt was the work of Pakistan's intelligence services, the ISI. The allegations were carried in both newspapers and repeated by Mir's relatives. 

The apology said: "It was never our intention to malign or offend any institution or person ... we have concluded that our coverage was excessive, distressful and emotional.

"This caused deep hurt to ISI as an institution, its director general, members of his family, the rank and file of the Armed Forces and a large number of our viewers. We deeply apologise for hurting them all."

Infamy and blasphemy

Geo has experienced a few setbacks since airing its claims of a military-led campaign against Mir, who has survived previous attempts on his life.

The Ministry of Defence sought a cancellation of Geo's licence, accusing the channel of "false, malicious and irresponsible reporting", and the prosecution of the editorial team. There have been public rallies in support of the military and its key figures.

Some cable operators have dropped the channel altogether, or moved it further down their listings. To compound the channel's woes, a blasphemy case has been lodged against it.

It is not clear if Monday's mea culpa will improve the fortunes of Geo, its owners or employees.

Since 2001, Pakistan has ranked as one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist, according to various campaign groups including Amnesty International.

Criticising the ISI and the military is a widely perceived taboo in Pakistan, with the confrontation between Geo and the military stirring debate about press freedom in the country.


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.