• Thursday, August 6, 2020

Is Pakistan pulling off a global public relations coup?

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Dubious, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Dubious

    Dubious RETIRED MOD

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    By M Bilal Lakhani
    Published: March 10, 2019


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    PM Imran Khan. PHOTO: PID

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    More humiliating than the downing of their jets, I believe India’s political elite has been genuinely startled by the stunning victory of Pakistan’s narrative at the global stage, during the ongoing theatre of brinkmanship between the two states. Consider this an almost unbelievable kicker in a New York Times article, illustrating how Pakistan seized the PR narrative in this showdown: ‘Perhaps the most telling moment in the information war came on Thursday when Pakistan seized what could have been India’s triumphant moment, the return of the pilot.

    On Thursday afternoon, the whispers from advisers in Mr Modi’s government were that top Indian generals were ready to make a major announcement at 5pm. But well before that time, there was Mr Khan standing in parliament and breaking the news live on television that Pakistan would unilaterally send the Indian pilot home.

    This is a shocking about-turn for Pakistanis who are very numb to losing the public relations battle at every global forum and media outlet. We don’t know how to react to our narrative cutting through the clutter. But the only ones more surprised than Pakistanis at this strange turn of events are the Indians. For example, Ajai Shukla, an Indian journalist and a retired Colonel of Indian Army, wrote the following in a piece for Al Jazeera:


    “By the time New Delhi announced that its combat aircraft had struck a JeM camp deep inside Pakistan, public attention was no longer on the IAF’s considerable military feat of having overcome Pakistani air defences to reach a target 80km across the LoC. Instead, people were questioning whether Indian bombs had completely missed their targets and whether 300 terrorists had actually been killed, as Indian officials had whispered to the media in Delhi.

    “Without wasting time, the ISPR facilitated local and international media access to an area that was purportedly the IAF’s target. Very soon, credible global media organisations like Reuters, The New York Times and Al Jazeera put out reports supporting Pakistan’s contention of zero casualties in the so-called terrorist camp.”

    They say the best time to do introspection is when you’re winning and so this would be a good time for Pakistan to ask some hard questions of itself. Why does our narrative not resonate with global audiences and media outlets? Now that we’re finally putting our house in order by cracking down on extremists, among other things, this would be the right time to refresh our narrative and deliver it to the world in novel and unexpected ways.

    What kind of global public relations strategy will serve as a force multiplier to achieve our foreign policy goals (eg defusing tensions with India), attracting foreign investment and enhancing pride in Pakistanis at home and abroad? Here are some ideas to get our creative juices flowing. First, we can host a South Asian Peace Summit for the 100 biggest digital influencers in the world in Islamabad. This should include customised travel and amplification plans for each influencer, for example, hosting Humans of New York, to do a series on Kashmiri children who have suffered from Indian occupation.

    Taking a page from Israel’s lobbying machine in the United States, we can engage the Pakistani diaspora in an ambassador programme to host dinner with a non-Pakistani family once a month to celebrate Pakistan, in return for unlocking privileges like special immigration counters at Pakistani airports. We can also create a pop-up experience for opinion leaders and the general public on ‘Pakistan’s decisive win in the war against terrorism’ in major capitals like London, Washington DC, Geneva etc.

    These are just a few ideas presented for illustrative purposes but we could tap into Pakistani PR professionals around the world to help bring these stories to life. In the medium term, we would have to design a brand building campaign for Pakistan (ala ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ or ‘Incredible India’), which is championed across communication touch points. Now is the time to bring some of that magic to win the war of perceptions being fought within the global marketplace of ideas.

    Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2019.

    Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1926286/6-pakistan-pulling-off-global-public-relations-coup/
     
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  2. Irfan Baloch

    Irfan Baloch SENIOR MODERATOR

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    this is war of narratives as well as war of men and the weapons
    whoever preempts and is on top of the game , is the winner
     
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  3. El Sidd

    El Sidd ELITE MEMBER

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    what is with Pakistan and coups?
     
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  4. Dubious

    Dubious RETIRED MOD

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    Well, we finally learning how to use media SPACE FOR OUR benefits....
    2ndly, we do really need a catchy brand ...something unique and not copied...
    3rdly, Man the article and also the NY Times, which I saw somewhere on this forum was a treat :D

    catchy word...
    Though in this context it does describe what EXACTLY happened :D

    bus ...2 shukrana kay nafal lazmi ho giyea hain that those 2 were not in charge :rolleyes:
     
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  5. El Sidd

    El Sidd ELITE MEMBER

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    stop gloating
     
  6. Dubious

    Dubious RETIRED MOD

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    For once I can smile at our media coverage...All thanks to rightly timed and having a ready information loop!

    Otherwise, we werent far from indian style media disaster!
     
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  7. Rusty

    Rusty ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan needs to develop soft power.
    This PR win is a start.
    Allowing more tourism and developing the ecconomy will be the next step.
     
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  8. Mrc

    Mrc ELITE MEMBER

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    Pakistan needs to warn Israel from non diplomatic channels...

    Finish the hard coup first than worry about soft coup
     
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  9. AfrazulMandal

    AfrazulMandal SENIOR MEMBER

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    NYT and al Jaz never reported FOR India anyway. :D

    But Pakistan always had the global PR advantage vis a vis India.

    India has only been known as a slumdog, while Pakistan is equated with an exotic Muslim nuclear powerhouse that has traditionally been an US ally. Now most of the outside world views Pakistan as a place of good food, Chinese ally and the strongest military force in the region.

    I don't know how can this be considered a coup when Pakistan ALWAYS had the upper hand.

    You can say that you have reinforced the position and shown the Indian military and civilian administration to be little more than paper tigers. But then, the world (and the NYT and alJaz) always reported the same anyway.

    Please. Nobody takes this seriously.

    The world considers India = Slumdog millionaire movie.

    And Taj Mahal.

    period.

    And the rest are not very nice - no toilets, rape, superstition, genocide etc.
     
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  10. Kambojaric

    Kambojaric MODERATOR

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    Indeed. First time after a long while where Pakistan actually has come across diplomatically as the victor. Talk here in Sweden has been about the release of the pilot and how Pakistan has been trying to de-escalate the situation. Credit goes to Imran Khan for being far-sighted enough to fully avail the current spotlight on Kashmir in Pakistan's favor. Historically whereas militarily we may have pulled off "coups", diplomatically India has always been smarter and come across as the "good guy". Full points to IK.
     
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  11. Dubious

    Dubious RETIRED MOD

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    How about BBC? :pop:

    India and Pakistan: How the war was fought in TV studios
    • 10 March 2019

    [​IMG]
    An Indian man watches the news broadcasting images of the released Indian pilot
    As tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following a deadly suicide attack last month, there was another battle being played out on the airwaves. Television stations in both countries were accused of sensationalism and partiality. But how far did they take it? The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan in Delhi and Secunder Kermani in Islamabad take a look.

    It was drama that was almost made for television.

    The relationship between India and Pakistan - tense at the best of times - came to a head on 26 February when India announced it had launched airstrikes on militant camps in Pakistan's Balakot region as "retaliation" for a suicide attack that had killed 40 troops in Indian-administered Kashmir almost two weeks earlier.

    A day later, on 27 February, Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and captured its pilot.

    Abhinandan Varthaman was freed as a "peace gesture", and Pakistan PM Imran Khan warned that neither country could afford a miscalculation, with a nuclear arsenal on each side.

    Suddenly people were hooked, India's TV journalists included.[​IMG]
    Indian PM Narendra Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

    So were they more patriots than journalists?

    Rajini Vaidyanathan: Indian television networks showed no restraint when it came to their breathless coverage of the story. Rolling news was at fever pitch.

    The coverage often fell into jingoism and nationalism, with headlines such as "Pakistan teaches India a lesson", "Dastardly Pakistan", and "Stay Calm and Back India" prominently displayed on screens.

    Some reporters and commentators called for India to use missiles and strike back. One reporter in south India hosted an entire segment dressed in combat fatigues, holding a toy gun.

    And while I was reporting on the return of the Indian pilot at the international border between the two countries in the northern city of Amritsar, I saw a woman getting an Indian flag painted on her cheek. "I'm a journalist too," she said, as she smiled at me in slight embarrassment.

    Print journalist Salil Tripathi wrote a scathing critique of the way reporters in both India and Pakistan covered the events, arguing they had lost all sense of impartiality and perspective. "Not one of the fulminating television-news anchors exhibited the criticality demanded of their profession," he said.

    [​IMG]
    India and Pakistan's 'war-mongering' media
    Secunder Kermani
    : Shortly after shooting down at least one Indian plane last week, the Pakistani military held a press conference.

    As it ended, the journalists there began chanting "Pakistan Zindabad" (Long Live Pakistan). It wasn't the only example of "journalistic patriotism" during the recent crisis.

    Two anchors from private channel 92 News donned military uniforms as they presented the news - though other Pakistani journalists criticised their decision.

    But on the whole, while Indian TV presenters angrily demanded military action, journalists in Pakistan were more restrained, with many mocking what they called the "war mongering and hysteria" across the border.

    In response to Indian media reports about farmers refusing to export tomatoes to Pakistan anymore for instance, one popular presenter tweeted about a "Tomatical strike" - a reference to Indian claims they carried out a "surgical strike" in 2016 during another period of conflict between the countries.

    Media analyst Adnan Rehmat noted that while the Pakistani media did play a "peace monger as opposed to a warmonger" role, in doing so, it was following the lead of Pakistani officials who warned against the risks of escalation, which "served as a cue for the media."

    What were they reporting?
    Rajini Vaidyanathan: As TV networks furiously broadcast bulletins from makeshift "war rooms" complete with virtual reality missiles, questions were raised not just about the reporters but what they were reporting.

    Indian channels were quick to swallow the government version of events, rather than question or challenge it, said Shailaja Bajpai, media editor at The Print. "The media has stopped asking any kind of legitimate questions, by and large," she said. "There's no pretence of objectiveness."

    In recent years in fact, a handful of commentators have complained about the lack of critical questioning in the Indian media.

    [​IMG]
    Indians celebrated news of the strikes
    "For some in the Indian press corps the very thought of challenging the 'official version' of events is the equivalent of being anti-national", said Ms Bajpai. "We know there have been intelligence lapses but nobody is questioning that."

    Senior defence and science reporter Pallava Bagla agreed. "The first casualty in a war is always factual information. Sometimes nationalistic fervour can make facts fade away," he said.

    This critique isn't unique to India, or even this period in time. During the 2003 Iraq war, western journalists embedded with their country's militaries were also, on many occasions, simply reporting the official narrative.

    Secunder Kermani: In Pakistan, both media and public reacted with scepticism to Indian claims about the damage caused by the airstrikes in Balakot, which India claimed killed a large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in a training camp.

    Hamid Mir, one of the most influential TV anchors in the country travelled to the area and proclaimed, "We haven't seen any such (militant) infrastructure... we haven't seen any bodies, any funerals."

    "Actually," he paused, "We have found one body… this crow." The camera panned down to a dead crow, while Mr Mir asked viewers if the crow "looks like a terrorist or not?"

    There seems to be no evidence to substantiate Indian claims that a militant training camp was hit, but other journalists working for international outlets, including the BBC, found evidence of a madrassa, linked to JeM, near the site.

    [​IMG]
    The satellite image shows a close-up of a madrassa near Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Paktunkhwa
    A photo of a signpost giving directions to the madrassa even surfaced on social media. It described the madrassa as being "under the supervision of Masood Azhar". Mr Azhar is the founder of JeM.

    The signpost's existence was confirmed by a BBC reporter and Al Jazeera, though by the time Reuters visited it had apparently been removed. Despite this, the madrassa and its links received little to no coverage in the Pakistani press.

    Media analyst Adnan Rehmat told the BBC that "there was no emphasis on investigating independently or thoroughly enough" the status of the madrassa.

    In Pakistan, reporting on alleged links between the intelligence services and militant groups is often seen as a "red line". Journalists fear for their physical safety, whilst editors know their newspapers or TV channels could face severe pressure if they publish anything that could be construed as "anti-state".

    Who did it better: Khan or Modi?
    Rajini Vaidyanathan: With a general election due in a few months, PM Narendra Modi continued with his campaign schedule, mentioning the crisis in some of his stump speeches. But he never directly addressed the ongoing tensions through an address to the nation or a press conference.

    This was not a surprise. Mr Modi rarely holds news conference or gives interviews to the media. When news of the suicide attack broke, Mr Modi was criticised for continuing with a photo shoot.

    [​IMG]
    Imran Khan was praised for his measured approach

    The leader of the main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, dubbed him a "Prime Time Minister" claiming the PM had carried on filming for three hours. PM Modi has also been accused of managing his military response as a way to court votes.

    At a campaign rally in his home state of Gujarat he seemed unflustered by his critics, quipping "they're busy with strikes on Modi, and Modi is launching strikes on terror."

    Secunder Kermani: Imran Khan won praise even from many of his critics in Pakistan, for his measured approach to the conflict. In two appearances on state TV, and one in parliament, he appeared firm, but also called for dialogue with India.

    His stance helped set the comparatively more measured tone for Pakistani media coverage.

    Officials in Islamabad, buoyed by Mr Khan's decision to release the captured Indian pilot, have portrayed themselves as the more responsible side, which made overtures for peace.

    On Twitter, a hashtag calling for Mr Khan to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize was trending for a while. But his lack of specific references to JeM, mean internationally there is likely to be scepticism, at least initially, about his claims that Pakistan will no longer tolerate militant groups targeting India.

     
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  12. AfrazulMandal

    AfrazulMandal SENIOR MEMBER

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    Please come out of your cocoons.

    I have spent half my life all over Australia, Germany, Nederlands etc - and the overwhelming majority of the people had a very positive image of Pakistan compared to a neutral or slightly negative image of India.

    India coming out as smarter is nonsense. India cries the loudest - that I will give you for sure.
     
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  13. N.Siddiqui

    N.Siddiqui SENIOR MEMBER

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    Think PTI social media team doing PR work for elections and winning the local electorates is active too, now more focused on the global aspect of Public Relations and creating a soft image for Pakistan.

    This time Pakistan is lucky to have a Hindutva BJP, and Modi doing short work of creating an extremist image of India with Beef related lynching flashed in all the western media, growing intolerance, killing of progressive writers like Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and many more in India for criticizing Hindutva.

    Pakistan should make the most of it when Modi is at the helm of affairs, Pakistan has it work cut short with the bad image and vibes India is getting in western press. Need to go for a force multiplier and no one is better equipped than PM Imran Khan...so far he has done a stellar job.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Diggy

    Diggy BANNED

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  15. Jaanbaz

    Jaanbaz ELITE MEMBER

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    Try it we have people waiting for cow piss drinkers like you. :lol: