American Media invades Pakistan

US to spend $50 million on media in Pakistan
By Ibrahim Sajid Malick

The Obama administration plans to spend nearly $50 million on Pakistani media this year to reverse anti-American sentiments and raise awareness of projects aimed at improving quality of life, confirms a Washington insider. 

After the Kerry-Lugar Bill debacle, the Obama administration had struggled with the idea of branding aid and many within the State department and the USAID had argued that identifying projects may backfire. 

By announcing that a school was built and is being maintained partly because of the aid received from America you can alienate people, said someone who had proposed not branding the aid. 

The US Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke believes that a substantial amount of monies spent on media- especially private TV channels will reduce tension and may even bring Pakistan-US relations back on the right path. 

Senator John Kerry, the main architect of Kerry-Lugar bill also supports the idea of claiming credit for all the good work being done to improve infrastructure, energy and education, said a source in Senators office.

Reuters today reported that the Obama administration has sent lawmakers a plan for funding water, energy and other projects. Report said the US intends to spend $1.45 billion of earmarked for the Kerry-Lugar bill in fiscal 2010.

The trust deficit had surged after a well intended aid package focused to uplift Pakistans civilian society was trashed by a section of Pakistani media. Interviews with diplomatic sources in Washington, D.C. and media coverage of the KLB debacle had demonstrated growing frustration of the Obama administration.

Although American officials publicly praise military operation in South Waziristan, in private they sing a different tune; their assessment of alignment is rather pessimistic. Stories leaked to media consistently allege that al-Qaeda leadership is still enjoying safe haven in Pakistan.

Pakistan-U.S. relations have not been this tenuous before, and the Obama administration is frustrated with the outcome of the Kerry-Lugar bill. No one had anticipated such negativity, said an American official who did not want to be identified. We thought Pakistanis [would] celebrate the passage of this bill. This is what we were told by representatives of Pakistani government. 

Pakistani government representatives from President Zardari to Foreign Minister Qureshi and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani further down the chain had assured the Americans that Pakistanis would be jubilant; KLB was suppose to heal all wounds, rectify all wrongs and erase memories of the past from the consciousness of the masses. 

The Obama administration has shared their plan to sponsor high impact projects and communicate the value of these projects using local media.

Voice of America, a radio and TV platform that speaks for the government of the US already has a tie-up with Geo TV and now they have aligned with Express TV as well. 

The Obama administration plans to help Pakistans democratic government meet budget shortfalls and deliver services to a population increasingly angry about economic and security troubles. As the funding builds the capacity of the government to provide basic services, the US sponsored Pakistani media will raise awareness and a build a brand for America, our sources have confirmed.

(Ibrahim Sajid Malick is a Pakistani-American writer, technologist, and social entrepreneur. He has been writing on Pakistani society and politics since 1986 when he joined the Daily News in Karachi as a reporter. Since than he has held several media, communications, and technology positions for organizations large and small).

NOTE : This is a cross post.

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Comments

  • Archie Haase  On February 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Good luck at creating a change in how Pakistan looks at us. These Americans think they can improve their image while continuing their same policies is self defeating. It is like planting trees creating a park, while beautifying the sides of a open sewer ditch running through town. Might look better but still stinks.

    Not sure why it is so hard for Americans in power to admit they have to change?

  • Syed Ataur Rahman  On February 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

    This GEO channel has always been a suspect as has been ARY, AAG and to a certain extent even AAJ who are known to be one way or the other funded by USA/CIA. Pakistanis should be wary of the quiet and hidden agenda of these channels and their methodology of destabilizing the country at the behest of the Americans, their pay masters. GEO in particular is popular because it is flashy, has reporters everywhere, so first to reach a news, but always with an angle. It criticizes the government of the time to bring hatred to it. It did so during President Musharraf’s time and it is doing so now.

  • Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey  On February 26, 2011 at 6:41 am

    They may have plans to do what they wish. It is we who should have a plan to redeem our honour, integrity and freedom. The murder of four innocent people must not go waste.

    In my view the these BW ,Xe or whatever must leave the country. The freedom granted to CIA must be revoked.Reciprocity must return.

    KLB aid and any other concession being offered will not end our hunger and poverty. That we shall have to do ourselves through education and austerity. The over rich and the rich have to join the poor. The poverty will disappear instantly. Peeri and muridi should also end so that the ignorant poor would keep what little they have for their children.

    The most important is ending the exploitation by the current banking system. It is ruining the society and is an instrument widening gap between the rich and poor. It has totally destroyed our economy.

    ias

  • Majyd Aziz  On February 26, 2011 at 10:12 am

    FIRST GREAT THING OBAMA HAS DONE FOR PAKISTAN. SEND PAK MEDIA REPS TO USA, MAYBE 100 OR SO. GIVE THEM THE FULL DOSE AND MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THEY RETURN, THEY ALL SING “GOD BLESS AMERICA”

  • Moira  On February 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    hello, quality article, and an excellent understand! definitely one for my bookmarking.

  • Arif  On February 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Good now it will be a balanced approach, each can give their side of the Story, instead of UnCHECKED Propaganda by one side only…Please competition is always a healthy proposition!!!! GREAT NEWS JAUZI!!!!!!! Arif

    • TAB  On February 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

      Get this clear: A disbeliving government can last for a while but tyranny cannot . This was said by ALI, RA.
      US is a dying power…the main reason for it is that since war always made them richer in the past, they started off one too many. The second reson is that it attacks only those states with natural resources. Damn them if they help America where millions upon millions of people have died. They helped Egypt only and went for splitting Sudan because the former was necessary for the security of Israel and the latter had oil. It hasn’t broken a stick to better the lot of the poor Africans.
      In Pakistan, they r responsible for inventing, funding and helping the TTP(Pakistani Taliban) to destabilize Pakistan, carve it up into small states and remove its nuclear capability. There has been no explosions in Lahore since Raymond was nabbed.
      A time is nigh when the Republic of Chad will give two monkeys to any US directives.

      Tab

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