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Journalism: an alternative history: Part - II

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15.10.2019

Another good book on the alternative history of the media in the 1980s is ‘Mun Gharhat Aurat’ (Concocted woman) published in 1997. The Simorgh Collective of Lahore reviewed the presentation of women in the media during General Zia’s regime. Neelam Hussain, Nasreen Shah, Fareeda Sher, and others did the research that was translated into Urdu by Rubina Saigol.

The Simorgh Collective had started this study in 1985 by observing the role of the media in projecting women during the years of General Zia’s Islamization programme which aimed at imposing obsolete ideas on society by legislative and media manipulation.

In 2005, Zafar Iqbal Mirza (ZIM) brought out his book, ‘Last Man In’, which is a collection of his articles published from 1984 to 2005. Its chapters three and four are about politics and media. His columns Imroze, ‘the Newspaper that was’; ‘Here’s PTV’, about Zamir Niazi; ‘The death of a newspaper’ about the Civil and Military Gazette, and ‘The Hindu Urdu Press before partition’, are all informative and worth reading. Reading ZIM has always been a pleasure to me as he embodied that rare breed of journalists whose horizon was vast and varied.

Saleem Asmi is an editor and writer par excellence, and this columnist has been fortunate to work under his guidance and editorship. In 2012, S M Shahid compiled Asmi’s articles, interviews, and reviews in a book titled ‘Saleem Asmi’. Dedicated to ABS Jafri and Razia Bhatti – two of the bravest and most competent editors of Pakistan – this book is a gem to read. Though it is not exactly an alternative history of journalism in Pakistan, it does have pieces penned by Asmi about columnists and editors such as Faiz, Khushwant Singh, Josh, Zamir Niazi and others. ‘A newspaper is born’ is about The Muslim and how it came into being.

Dr Noor Fatima’s book ‘Press and Politics’ – published in 2013 – is about the role of the print media during the Pakistan National Alliance Movement against Z A Bhutto in 1977. She has........

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