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Blogger Vs Reporter

February 26, 2010

Hello everyone,

Here’s a link to a Pakistani blog ‘Cafe Pyala’ – run by a group of journalists under hidden identities – that criticised the coverage of Pakistan’s fashion week in the foreign media (CNN, The Times and Christian Science Monitor to name a few). The blogger was particularly disappointed with one journalist, Mary Bowers, who linked the event to Talibans in Pakistan.

http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/02/fashion-statements.html

Bowers then decided to respond to the anonymous blogger through Dawn’s official blog. Here’s what she wrote for our website today.

http://blog.dawn.com/2010/02/26/framed-by-the-taliban/

It’s interesting how she addresses the question some of us were trying to ask at the conference in Alexandria about whether or not blogs are a threat to journalists..

let me know what you all think.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tarek Mounir permalink
    February 26, 2010 5:35 pm

    Dear Aroosa,it’s a very appropraite example of what we all were discussing 10 days ago, tell you the truth, didn’t manage to complete the “Fashion Statement” post with its almost 40 comments there at Cafe Pyala, but obviously, it’s a hillarious mambo jumbo reporting that has been done by The Times’ Mary Bowers, talk to you later today when i manage to finish this chapter.

  2. Sasa Milosevic permalink
    February 26, 2010 8:10 pm

    Dear Aroosa

    I know how is painful for one nation to be constantly reminded to the dark side of its own past and present. My country has gone through it.

    Unfortunately, Pakistanis will have to face with that even on such events as Fashion Week.

    No one foreign journalist can write relaxing about the beautiful fashion models without look back at the tragedies that is happening every day in your country.

    I do not think that British journalist did anything bad. On the contrary. She wrote a good article. Pakistani blogger is unrealistic and biased. First of all, he or she has no courage to sign the full name. And then there is no courage to call their own people and artists to take advantage of such events in order to change bad things. Pakistani blogger is also false patriot.

    The fact that the Pakistani government openly supports the Taliban casts a shadow over all the other nice things in your home country. Just like in my country, Serbia, where the war criminal, has been protected by the years from the official governments. In the name of false patriotism. Because of it all the beauties of Serbia and all the valuable and respectable people stayed less important to the world. It took time and years to change things for the better.

    For one foreign journalist it is really impossible to enjoy the beautiful dresses in Pakistan knowing that only a few hundred meters there was bloodshed and only a few dozen kilometers Taliban making plans for a new slaughter.

    If Pakistani people want to be accepted widely as a creative nation without mixing with political past, before all, Pakistanis must solved with themselves what they want and what they do not want.

    Or they will change the government and policy that it returns them in the dark past or they will remain the servants of group of illiterate terrorists who, hidden in the Pakistan hills control the entire Pakistan nation.

    And even their Fashion Week.

  3. Aroosa permalink
    February 28, 2010 2:51 pm

    You make a very valid point Sasa, but I guess Ms Bowers’ justification was a bit flawed in the blog she wrote in response. She used arguments that were later used against her like “foreign correspondents are compelled to look for such angles to churn a juicy story for their readers back home.” This, I believe, is unfair to the country you are reporting on.

    However, one cant argue much because the truth of the matter is we are but a war-torn country & it’s hard for foreign correspondents to look for other positive stories, esp when they have been posted here to cover terrorism.

    And yes I totally agree with you when say we need to solve our problems ourselves. If only my government was listening. *Sigh*

  4. Amanda Wilson permalink
    February 28, 2010 7:33 pm

    Hi Aroosa, thanks for bringing this thought-provoking item to the table. After reading the article, the blog criticism, and the DAWN Blog response from Bowers, I think Mary Bowers’ response on Dawn to the anonymous blog post was very honest and sincere. She admits that there’s a need to make a story relevant to readers. She also confesses to feeling no shame about bringing her own eyes, and perhaps the perceptions of her country, to the story. I can relate to that. Ultimately, Bowers’ response post underscores our discourse about the myth of objectivity. Writers always pick and choose which elements of the cacophony to quote, highlight, describe, interpret, and give meaning. On the other hand, I think the blogger raises a good point about how Lahore Fashion Week was unfairly politicized by most of the foreign news coverage. The coverage seems to infer that Fashion Week was an overt political statement, and constantly juxtapose it with the Taliban when in fact, it probably has about as much connection to Islamic Fundamentalism as New York Fashion week has to the U.S.A.’s own Tea Partiers (not to compare them with the Taliban, but you get my point.) In the end, I really don’t think it was fair for the anonymous Cafe Pyala blogger to take pot shots at this Times reporter and tear her down without offering a more substantial alternative viewpoint. The anonymous blogger criticizes the factual basis of the reporting in question, but I don’t see many errors of fact, just difference of perspective.

    • Amanda Wilson permalink
      February 28, 2010 7:37 pm

      PS, Hey Sasa! I saw your post on the DAWN Blog. Wow, you are ubiquitous….

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