As if Ebola were not serious enough, a new, and perhaps more lethal, epidemic appears to be spreading throughout the world from the Middle East to North America. It goes under the rubric “workplace violence.”
The possibility of such an epidemic first came to our attention in November 2009 when Major Nidal Malik Hasan – an Army psychiatrist who corresponded with the late Yemen-based imam Anwar Al-Awlaki and who lectured his fellow doctors on jihad — shouted “Allah Akbhar” and fatally shot 13 people, injuring 30 others, at Ft. Hood, near Killeen, Texas. The U.S. Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings as acts of “workplace violence.”
(Some scholars, however, say the first true instance of “workplace violence” was the September 11, 2001 aviation incident at the World Trade Center, since the vast majority of the people in those structures were at work. Calling this a terror attack was a misnomer instigated by Islamophobes.)
For a few years, the potential epidemic seemed to be in abeyance but of late there have been disturbing signs of a resurgence.
[DAWN] A MERE four months after Geo News was fined and its broadcast licence temporarily suspended by Pemra, on Monday it was ARY News that was similarly cautioned with a 15-day licence suspension and a Rs10m fine. The institutions these channels are deemed to have harmed are different -- it is the ISI in the former instance and the judiciary in the second. But the root of the problem is the same: the airing of content that has displayed a problematic journalistic ethos and the failure to weed out undesirable or reckless commentary. Whether the punishment meets the scale of the transgression is debatable in such cases. But what is not debatable is that on several occasions, in different ways, Pakistain's vibrant and outspoken electronic media have erred on the side of being too lax in their application of filters, and have consequently underscored the need for regulation.
There is, of course, a lot of difference between censorship and regulation. Across the world, the functioning of the electronic media is subjected to the scrutiny of regulatory bodies that act as the media's conscience and in the public interest. This was precisely the reasoning behind the establishment of Pemra. That said, however, there are in practical terms certain problems with the watchdog. These require rectification -- and on an urgent basis. First, where regulatory bodies are effective, they also have considerable power to implement their decisions and, more importantly, are viewed as having an entirely independent and transparent functioning. What is Pemra's implementing power? Now that ARY's licence has been suspended, the country will no doubt see the same situation as it did with Geo: depending on individual cable operators' inclination, the broadcast will cease in some areas and not in others. Second, as a result of the Geo/ARY debacle, Pemra as it stands today has been tainted with political hues, and there are reasons to fear that its decisions may not be as independent as could be hoped for. This needs to be reversed. Further, there is no argument that Pakistain's electronic media landscape can do with better, clearer rules that should be applied fairly, with transparency, and across the board. All this can be achieved if the Pemra regulatory framework is subjected to close parliamentary re-examination. As long as the main stakeholders are kept part of the consulting process, there is no reason a new regulator with new rules cannot be created.
[DAWN] DRONES have divided Pakistain for nearly a decade now. In the days when drone attacks first began many were beguiled by the promises they represented: the bad boy tumours that were eating up a corner of the country would be eliminated via these aerial weapons.
Words like 'precision', 'necessity', 'cure' and 'excision' dominated the semantics of the drone project. The drones were operated from several oceans away, everyone knew, but some trust could be put in the American superpower's ability to know of threats and to eliminate them from the hapless and diseased soil of its ally.
Simple recipes are always appealing and this one was truly elemental: elimination by remote control of the scourge that was damning Pakistain, bombing schools, blowing up mosques, targeting coppers, assassinating professors.
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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.