The “Surgical Tree Strike” Should Inspire Pakistan to Start Its Own International News Broadcaster

It has long been said that “he who controls the medium, controls the message”. One only needs to examine the international reach of America’s CNN and the UK’s BBC in order to realise the truth behind this aphorism. Of course, other countries have more recently started their own 24/7 news broadcasters and many have grabbed the attention of the wider world after having done so. Recent years have seen Russia’s RT (Russia Today) dominate headlines and so too has Iran’s Press-TV. Elsewhere, China’s CGTN/CCTV, Singapore’s Channel News Asia, Turkey’s TRT World, Telesur (a joint Latin American broadcaster launched by Venezuela) and France 24, help to convey unique national perspectives on major global news stories. Such broadcasters likewise offer genuine indigenous views on national events to an international audience.

Pakistan has long required its own international news outlet with a similar reach, influence and professional presentation as those mentioned in the previous paragraph. Not only does Pakistan have the advantage of being home to more English speakers than the average Asian country, but Pakistan’s unique geographical location as the “zipper of Asia” means that in the age of CPEC, Pakistan is likewise the crossroads of Asia in terms of trade, but potentially also in terms of culture and human-to-human connectivity.

Launching a 24/7 online and satellite Pakistani news broadcaster would be a cost-effective way to promote the broader message and meaning of Naya Pakistan to the wider world. One could even call such a broadcaster NPN: Naya Pakistan News.

What though does this have to do with India’s recent act of aggression against Pakistan, which ultimately ended up taking the lives only of some trees and a few earth insects? The answer is that while Indian media is riding a wave of self-induced jingoism, social media is being filled with humorous memes exposing the fact that whilst Pakistan has told the truth about this morning’s “surgical tree strike“, India’s narrative is being mercilessly named and shamed not just by Pakistanis, but also by non-Pakistanis on social media who are eager to show the world that India’s moment of “revenge” was little more than a dangerous hoax.

If the somewhat comical idea of “martyred trees” can help shine a light on the fact that for decades, India had monopolised international attention in order to spread anti-Pakistan narratives based on untruths, surely a 24/7 broadcaster can help to amplify the absurdity of India’s anti-Pakistan narratives with a hitherto untapped but most necessary global reach.

One of the reasons that many outside of south Asia fall for the Hindtuva narrative which seeks to slander Pakistan as a land of terror, rather than present Pakistan as a land of economic opportunity, natural beauty and ever developing infrastructure, is because the humourless internationally aimed Hindutva narrative seeks to paint world cultures in binary zero-sum terms which pit all non-Muslims against all-Muslims. As such, this Islamophobia helps to allow India’s own public relations myth which seeks to portray India as a clean and spiritual land which stands opposed to Pakistan’s “terrorism”, to permeate the minds of not only non-Muslims, but even some non-Sunni Muslims that have been tricked into thinking that somehow India is their consummate ideological ally.

The truth is that Pakistan’s history is one of survival and resilience in the face of foreign backed terrorism, foreign aggression and colonial oppression. Pakistan’s cultural characteristics are framed by the optimism and tireless work of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and today, Naya Pakistan’s future is being shaped by the energetic spirit of Imran Khan – man who even prior to becoming Prime Minister was an excellent cultural ambassador for Pakistan to the wider world.

The very fact that one of Imran Khan’s environmental policies is to encourage the planting of trees, offers a sharp contrast to Narendra Modi – a leader whose air force just destroyed some trees in Pakistan after his planes dropped their payloads whilst retreating from Pakistani airspace.

Not only is the contrast amusing and somewhat humorous, but the paradox benefits from the fact that it happens to be the truth.

India has for too long been able to dominate international perceptions about south Asia, but the social media age is finally giving Pakistan a truly international voice that can employ facts, critical analysis and humour to expose India’s tired zero-sum narrative.

A 24/7 Naya Pakistan News would go a long way towards completing this necessary programme of international outreach that has worked so effectively for other nations that have done the same.

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