Friday, April 2, 2010

Facebook Inc.

Ayesha Siddiqa: Facebooked



On March 26 Ayesha Siddiqa, the author of a seminal work on Pakistan's armed forces, Army Military Inc., and Friday op-ed contributor for Dawn wrote this on her Facebook page:
"Absolutely miffed at how Dawn's current set of editors have turned the paper conpletely into a something that can only follow 'partyline'. So much for freedom of press. While they allow for careful leaks from within to be published as front page stories, they would edit my column mercilessly to keep the establishment h...appy. This is no free media but a carefully guided media."


On March 28 her status update read:
"Good news - one of my facebook friends squeeled to the editor sahib and reproduced my facebook entry about Dawn which was used an excuse to finally get rid of me. So, it is goodbye Dawn. I hope Mr squeeler remembers to pass on this post as well."


We had been overhearing some chatter about this recently, with Dawn op-ed people basically calling her 'Ayesha-sloppy-copy-Siddiqa' and Ayesha basically telling everyone in cyberia about those spineless morons at Dawn. But we never thought it would end quite like this: as Pakistan’s first bonafide Facebook-related sacking.
Ayesha Siddiqa's is an important voice in Pakistan's current political discourse and she may not be a great stylist but she makes sense most of the time. So where to now for her? Could it be The News, where nobody would ever think of even proof-reading an op-ed let alone edit it...? Or could Army Military Inc end up at Lakson Inc?


43 comments:

Anonymous said...

if you start vetting the contributors by the quality of the copy, there would be approximately three op-ed writers for all the papers.

Magnum said...

""So where to now for her? Could it be The News, where nobody would ever think of even proof-reading an op-ed let alone edit it...?""

LOL! So true, so true. It is sometimes a pain going through certain articles in The News. They're terrible. And anyway, the kind of 'establishment' Jang Group is falling these days, I guess Ayesha will have to start wearing a hijab and sing praises for our very own 'independent' (read Islamist) CJP and Mian Punjab Sharif.
Sad though, that a name like Ayesha had to behave like a hurt high-school girl. I mean, to begin with, what the fu*k is she doing groaning on bloody facebook. :P

TLW said...

Ayesha-sloppy-copy-Siddiqa

What is it about Dawn that brings out the bitchiness in everybody? Commenters on Cafe Pyala and and employs within act like fourth graders giving nicknames. Grow up.

had to behave like a hurt high-school girl. I mean, to begin with, what the fu*k is she doing groaning on bloody facebook

Another example perhaps of people in our media being immature. Plus she probably would like the attention people give to her, ppl asking her questions and what not.

Ayesha Siddiqa's is an important voice in Pakistan's current political discourse

Agreed. And a larger point to juxtapose amidst the incessant pettiness.

TLW said...

miffed at how Dawn's current set of editors have turned the paper conpletely into a something that can only follow "partyline"

I will have to agree. Because it confirms a vague suspicion I had in my mind for the last few months. Dawn does toe the PPP-Z's line. To justify that it's let its op-ed section veer into something approaching unconstructed Marxism, where the personal behavior of the leader does not matter as long as the party is in line. And please don't start bashing me as an anti-Communist. I had the feel that there were some aspects of the behaviour of the army, Zardari and his circle that was going unquestioned by Dawn.

As much as I enjoy bashing on Fundoes and Pakistan's Right Wing and their variedd contradictions (and believe me; I Love It) I feel that Dawn was only intermittently applying those same metrics to the current ruling party of Pakistan. Some poster here got angry when I said that the Editorials in Dawn sound a bit surkha. I was told the difference between Op-Eds and Editorials, and so I'll say it again. The Op-Eds go into a sort of unconstructed Marxism, where the personal misbehaviour of the leaders of the party(ies) is not important, but the "system" and its presence is. In that sort of atmosphere, the misdemeanours (previous and potentially continuing) of the leader in power at the moment, become irrelevant and thus unnecesary to question. These sort of "systems" based op-eds have become very, very common in Dawn. It may certainly be part of Dawn policy to encourage such overly-generalised thinking. Ms Siddiqa was questionning the system, but also may I add, the leaders. She's been fired.

This is no free media but a carefully guided media

I completely accept it. I think that is probably the only way to approach Pakistani newspapers and television media; that it at some level serves power in Pakistan, and by extension of Pakistan's non-policy in external affairs, Power in Washington, Beijing and Riyadh.

Omar R Quraishi said...

tlw -- if you think there is a free media anywhere in the world then you need to open your eyes

for what its worth dawn's recent editorial on the extension given to the ISI chief was excellent and took a much-needed line -- that the extension was not necessary at all --

takhalus said...

I agree there isn't real freedom of speech anywhere in the world..still it's an ideal worth fighting for...In Britain the Royals can embargo news about themselves.

The key difference is now with the internet you can spread the word regardless...

And whats wrong with a certain leftyness in pak papers..considering the right wing nature of the vernacular press and most of the english press ..a bit of leftys might keep the balance

Sassi Gul said...

I've been following this excellent blog site for a while now. But this is the first time I am commenting.

First of all, I thought Ayesha's stunt was extremely childish. I mean, she's a published author and (was) a columnist of a large newspaper; and yet she decided to rant about it like 16 yr old on bloody facebook?? Unbelievable.


Secondly, I totally agree with Omar R. Dawn's editorials have been perhaps the best compared to all the other newspapers. Also, comparitively speaking, the standard of Dawn's articles is way above any other English newspaper's.

As I see it, every newspaper has an angle and a political position. The News and The Nation are openly pro-Army and PMLN, while Dawn does slant a bit towards the PPP, but so what?

And anyway, if some of its leading columnists like Irfan Hussain, Kamran Shafi and Nadeem F. Paracha slant towards the PPP, than Dawn also has people like Cowesjee, Kanwar Aftab and Cyrel A. who have been very stern against Zaradri and co.

Anonymous said...

tlw: I really doubt that siddiqua meant pro ppp by 'partyline' since first of all she is one of the writers who is relatively soft on the ppp and most of her columns focus on the military establishment anyway. she probably meant pro-establishment by that.

Tayyab Mahmood said...

DAWN is following a Pro Goverment & Pro Establishment tone for past couple of months...Every media house is biased and present only selective truth which suites their clients.....

Jang Group is like "A Conservative Mind & Liberal Peni* "

Anonymous said...

Ayesha is mere pro-Ayesha. She has made fortune for writing against Army. Now she has received a better offer from other paper so accusing DAWN policy line to find an excuse for leaving under protest.

DAWN is the most balanced paper in Pakistan. It will not lose its credibility by her mud slinging. However, she will lose her readership.

Bolshevik said...

@ Anon0843: Jee, Lieutenant ji. Aaj kal posting kahaaN hai aap ki?

Anonymous said...

Oh c'mon grow up Urooj

Anonymous said...

yeah seriously urooj plz grow up and stop making wild guesses abt identity of anonymous bloggers

Bolshevik said...

Awwwww! Anonymous you're cute. :-P

Anonymous said...

Bolshevik - you are really wild with your guesses. Have you ever seen a 50+ Lieutenant? Unless you meant a Lieutenant General!

Bolshevik said...

Sir ji, I try my best to stay away from Army waalahs -- they make me sneeze and / or throw up. :-)

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous u'r cute: geeeee thanx urooj :D:D

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"Military Inc.", not "Army Inc."

As for Ms Siddiqa, sorry, but what an idiot for getting punked on Facebook like this!

Anonymous said...

anonymous 11.33 u sound so much like mr siddiqi

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
temporal said...

anon:

if you start vetting the contributors by the quality of the copy, there would be approximately three op-ed writers for all the papers.

who'd they be?

CPM said...

@Anon1133: Thanks for pointing out that mistake. Have made the correction to DeK's post.

karachikhatmal said...

hang on - why blame ayesha for being petty? her actions are pretty much the exact same as everyone else's on facebook. its the facebook that brings out that side of us - all of us.

people like to show themselves on facebook as some sort of avatar of their real selves - all the pictures they upload have them either smiling or brooding, all their updates are either whiny or advertising which part of the world they are currently prancing in, all their comments are extensions of the sort of personality they want everyone to think they have.

if you think people are being 'honest' on facebook, then i'd love to see what your current status is.

CPM said...

@Sassi Gul: Generally I agree with your points. However, the problem for all newspapers lies not in the oped pages, imho, but in the stories that are given prominence and / or ignored on the front page. Obviously, the oped pages are for projecting opinions, whether of the contributors or the editorial team.
The slant given to reportage, either for or against the government, is what really shapes people's perceptions of a paper. Dawn's or The Daily Times' playing down of the corruption stories against the PPP government, in that case, is as problematic as The Nation's or The News' over-the-top rhetoric against it. Now, I am aware that it may well be weak investigative journalism and not playing down that is the culprit, but that does not change the general way it is perceived by readers.

@Bolshevik: C'mon, let's not get into pointless name-calling. Chill. :)

Bolshevik said...

CPM: Achha theek hai, I'll apologise to Lt-Gen. sb. :-)

If you were referring to the pointless bit about Kamal, however, tou yaara I don't post anonymous comments. This place stops being fun once anonymous "cyber-warriors" make an entry. Goodnight.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people writing here seem to think that Ayesha deserved what she got cos she ranted on facebook when she could have easily talked to her editor. obviously you guys don't write much that offends anyone. Ayesha's book acording to her publisher OUP is the book that has sold more than any other book in english they have ever published. It touched a chord. The military inc runs bakeries in pakistan while it haggles with the US over how much more can it get for killing/capturing/disappearing its own citizens. Name me retired general who says she has a point and i'll name you a dawn editor who says which partyline?

annie said...

What drama this is.

Hi Urooj!

Anonymous said...

Dawn is full of these surkha types and PP lovers.they dont even pretend to be otherwise. Just look at their website. it looks like ppp.com

Magnum said...

^ ""Just look at their website. it looks like ppp.com""

Yes, it should be TTP.Com or better CJP.Com (Geo TV).

What a swepping stupid statement by you whoever you are.

Zain S. said...

Anon@6:35pm, why so bitter about what dawn.com looks like?

The surkhas/jiyalas are at least providing a breather from the stifling rightwing poison of TV channels like Geo.

Anonymous said...

It is strange how some people think Ayesha should not have mentioned the matter on facebook. That is the place where she frequently communicates with her friends. Otherwise, how would people know that she was over-edited in her piece?

Anonymous said...

Please don't berate the communists by calling pro imperialist liberals sitting in Dawn surkhas.

love,

vetch

TLW said...

Please don't berate the communists by calling pro imperialist liberals sitting in Dawn surkhas

@vetch

What`s left?

Or more appropriately:

What left?

vetch said...

TLW just because you can throw in one of the most used smart ass remark on the internet regarding the communists doesn't hide the fact that you are an idiot who thinks PPP represents the communist tendencies in Pakstan.

what a moron

karachikhatmal said...

vetch:

ok so let's avoid the 'smart ass internet' remarks and take a closer look at the 'surkhas'

insignificant political parties no larger than the number of people who fill the expansive drawing room of the party chairman's cantt mansion, continuously bickering into factions over arguments over the size of stalin's mustache, peddling an ideology whose inherent contradictions led to a collapse a long time ago, breaking out into plagiarizing rock bands, choking the bandwidths with impassioned articles and exhortation on net-zines which are no more than a staging ground for elaborate arguments learnt at fancy universities abroad, translating manifestos into urdu to reassure themselves that the common man is being reached, a tendency to denounce each and every person in the world other than themselves, sitting smugly and snugly in ivory towers, hitting out at right, left, above and below without having achieved any act of rightful vengeance save for the hollow echo on a popular blog comment board...

the tiny glimmer of hope the left has in pakistan has better things to do than denounce editorial boards and commenters on blog. i suggest you look them up. being some sort of nanny who seeks to prevent people hurting the feelings of 'surkhas' or sullying their image does very little.

Sobho said...

karachikhatmal:

Bravo! Bravo! Couldn't have said it better myself. The arrogance of the cyber-cocooned left in Pakistan is mind-boggling. Not to say there are not very good people on the left, but the US-educated Marxists who think they are leading some sort of revolution by posting comments on the net, are really farcical.

Centre said...

Excellent post, Sobho.
"cyber-cocooned left in Pakistan is mind-boggling ..."

LOL! You bet. Their elders used to cocoon themselves in coffee houses; their offsping are doing the same in cyberspace.

Sorry, guys, for spoiling your, err, 'revolution,' I think us liberal asses would rather keep voting.

TLW said...

who thinks PPP represents the communist tendencies in Pakstan

I couldn't care either way. I just like the way they put a bee in the bonnet of all the fundo types.

Yup that's my ideology - harassing fundo's for fun and pleasure. What's more fun (and still legal) on the internets than irritating an ideologue?

@ Karachi Khatmal

Welcome sir. We seem to have too much time on our hands. Please continue to enjoy the pleasures of the Pakistani corner of the internet.

@Centre & Sobho LULz all around to you kiddies.

Bolshevik said...

*roots for vetch* :-D

Anonymous said...

Where is ET? Doesn't look like it will come out in April? What is the hiccup? fixing price?

XYZ said...

I hear it's coming out next Monday, i.e. 12th. Price has been fixed at Rs. 20.

Chalaan said...

ET

Maybe Ayesha Siddiqa can make the jump to Express Tribune.

I would prefer her to keep her job back at Dawn.

If it is really true that she's been dropped, (and there's nothing on Google aside from Cafe Pyala and her facebook page) everybody should write a letter of protest to Dawn.

I will if her article doesn't come out on it's regular day.