Save the Journalists


Murder is a murder, whether it is committed by Pakistanis, British, Americans, Israelis or any other nationality. We should condemn all the murderers without any prejudice based upon a simple logic that a human being has no right whatsoever to take another fellow human being’s life for any reason.

Indeed, I strongly condemn the heinous murders of Mr. Daniel Pearl, Mr. Raffaele Ciriello, an Italian Free-lance Photographer, and others and offer my cordial condolences to their families and friends.

However, I would like to add that most of the American media outlets claim to be International, such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, etc., and yet at the same time they keep their National Identity and agendas. They consistently ignore any underlying circumstances which escalated to the heinous murders and tend to use the murders, for their own benefit to spice up their daily coverage and to win the war of ratings as per their agenda. It has been said about these media outlets that they are so powerful and monopolistic that they can bury any great story, partially or on the whole, upon their will or discretion without leaving any trace. In other words, we, the public, do not have any right to decide what we are going to watch, listen or read today; however, they do.

Let us look at the scenario of Mr. Daniel Pearl’s murder as a case study.

During the kidnap crisis of Mr. Pearl, which ended up with his barbaric murder, it was reported repeatedly in the Western media that Mr. Pearl was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. It was further stated that he had been kidnapped due to his involvement writing a story on Mr. Richard Reid. Mr. Reid is a British national who was arrested on a Paris-to-Miami flight in December after he allegedly tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneakers. But it was unknown that Mr. Pearl was of Jewish descent and possibly a citizen of Israel until it was reported in the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz.

Later on, through the same media outlets, who failed to report about Mr. Pearl’s Jewish descent, we learned that the video of barbaric murder of Mr. Pearl has been acquired by the authorities. In said video, Mr. Pearl was asked by his murderers to say loudly that he and his family are Jewish before killing him. It clearly demonstrates that the motives of Mr. Pearl’s murderers were not only national but also religious.

On February 21, 2001, Mr. Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, released a statement calling Pearl’s death, ”An act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny’s kidnappers claimed to believe in. They claimed to be Pakistani nationalists, but their actions must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots.”

Indeed, the culprits of Mr. Daniel Pearl’s barbaric murder must be punished in Pakistan where they committed the crime.

However, the statement, released by Mr. Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, is irrational, illogical and emotional, due to its lack of accepting any responsibility whatsoever by The Wall Street Journal management that Mr. Pearl was intentionally sent to Pakistan by the Wall Street Journal Management. The Wall Street Journal, knew or should have known that Pakistan is not a suitable destination for reporters or journalists of Jewish descent, especially those who claim Israeli citizenship, or have family members who do, as Pakistan has never officially accepted Israel as a bona-fide nation.

I will be very surprised to learn if Mr. Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, did not know that Pakistan is a “semi-fundamentalist” country according to a Time’s report about the Islamic world, published in the early 90s. It is highly unlikely that Pakistan will ever become a moderate or secular state since it was founded on the religious ideology of Islam. Further, Pakistanis, are non-Arab Muslims like their counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia (Only 15% of the world Muslim population is Arab, rest 85% are non-Arabs) etc, who devoutly support Palestinian struggle for freedom for religious reasons. Consequently, neither Pakistani citizens like to see Israelis in their country nor Pakistan Government acknowledges Israel, as an independent country. Therefore, there is no diplomatic relationship between Israel and Pakistan. As a matter of fact, any Islamic Republic of Pakistan Passport can not be issued to any Pakistani citizen, without these wording, “This Passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel” in four International languages on its Page No. 5.

Travel Information Manual, A joint monthly publications and Standard Reference Manual of the several IATA members airlines, clearly warns with reference to Pakistani Immigration Rules and Regulations, “the Government of Pakistan refuses admission to nationals of Israel; they are recommended not to transit Pakistan. Change of aircraft, even if not leaving the airport, is not allowed to these nationals”

Further, The Wall Street Journal statement issued by Mr. Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, does not provide any logical argument as to why this barbaric act (Daniel Perl’s murder) committed by some lunatics, such as the September 11th attacks, “must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots”.

If we were to follow that logic of collective responsibility, then why not bring shame on the West for the barbaric bombing of Iraq, Sudan and other countries. Why does this collective shame not extend to the entire Jewish community for the on-going Israeli atrocities against Palestinian civilians or against an Italian journalist.

Either Mr. Peter R. Kann and Mr. Paul E. Steiger never thought about it or they are too biased to admit the reality of their ethnic bias in manufacturing their brand of journalism, a brand that is unfortunately all too dominant among the “managing editors” of the Western media outlets.

Ms. Ann Cooper from Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) declined to comment when asked why her organization does not protest the Wall Street Management to take the partial responsibility of Mr. Pearl’s death. CPJ claims to help to “protect” journalists being an “impartial” organization.

Obviously, Pakistan or any other country is not going to change its Immigration Rules and regulations contrary to its own citizens’ emotions just because of lack of responsibility of some “managing editors” from abroad.

Regarding the State Department’s announcement of a 5 million dollar award for the information about Mr. Daniel Pearl’s killing, I can not help but ask myself what State Department has done for the American missionary couple who was kidnapped in the Philippines by a separatist militant group. Why didn’t the State Department announce any financial reward for them? Is Mr. Pearl’s murder or kidnap crisis is more important or precious or different from the others?

And what about all those journalist killings by the Israeli Defense Forces to report the everyday Israeli holocaust of the Palestinian civilians. Are there any courageous “managing editors” to bring shame to all the Jewish community? Or these “favors” are only showered upon developing countries?

In a nutshell, we should expect from The Wall Street Journal Management and all other media outlets’ management to take the responsibility for the safety of their journalist and reporters, much as we expect parents to care for the children, by not, for example, sending their young beautiful teenage daughters into the streets at night in a bad neighborhood. They should not send vulnerable journalists or reporters due to their background or some other reason to the countries where their life can be in danger to avoid any future barbaric murder or kidnap mishap.

I know most of the Western journalists are biased and less than candid in their reporting. This is a belief shared by most of the people in the Middle East, South Asia and rest of the world. In the interest of further clarity, American Jewish journalists are considered public relations officers for the IDF and the Israeli government, especially in the Muslim countries. So in the interest of saving precious human lives, the “managing editors” of media outlet should think twice about whom to send to cover the Muslim world.

After all, they are journalists, unarmed humans like me, and they should not be exposed to unwarranted dangers.

Last but not least, regarding their partiality, like every optimistic person, I believe in change for good, eventually. I hope and believe that they will reclaim their ethics of journalism, sooner or later.