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Is that plagiarism?

July 25, 2011

There is a difference between misrepresentation of facts and plagiarism. Not long ago, I posted a blog as to how one of the country’s well known op-ed writers and TV presenters, Javed Chaudhry, had completely distorted facts in his Urdu op-ed. I wrote to him. He replied back. I asked him to issue a public apology for misinforming people who have a blind faith in whatever their favorite anchor and op-ed writer (cum intellectual) writes. Let alone public apology, he didn’t bother to reply back.

Other than the misrepresentation of facts there was an element of copying material (of course without verification) from another source and it was evident that Mr. Chaudhry had translated word by word the piece written by Ahmad Noorani for The News International. Principally, I should have also written to The News about such an erroneous reporting but what happened was that I couldn’t check that report in time. It was when I read Javed Chaudhry’s Urdu op-ed and was searching for links to set the facts straight, I came across the one written by Ahmad Noorani and realized Ahmad Noorani was guilty of distorting facts but Mr. Chaudhry was guilty of plagiarism as well as presenting the wrong facts.

Recently, another of Pakistan’s well known TV presenters, Sana Bucha wrote an op-ed, When Incredibles’ Sulk for the English language daily The News International. Someone from the journalists’ forum pointed out that she was involved in plagiarism. The title and especially the opening paragraph of her op-ed was exactly like the editorial published in The Economist. I don’t know how the person in question or the Jang Group responded to that allegation. But it was ugly, especially when it comes from the the well-known TV personality.

Today, just by chance I came across an article published in another of Pakistan’s well known English newspapers, The Daily Times a few days ago. The author Naeem Tahir wrote an interesting piece about the presence of Hizb ut Tahrir in Pakistan, however, the mood spoiler was the 7th paragraph, where the first lines were copied from Wikipedia’s page on Hizb ut Tahrir. What was more annoying that there has been reference to lifting a ban from Hizb ut Tahrir following the Lahore High Court decision. This was also copied from Wikipedia. The Wikipedia links referring to court order are dead. Despite, a relentless search I failed to get a single newspaper link to that 2005 court verdict. Lastly, an independent think tank, based in Islamabad, Pak Institute for Peace Studies had presented a research paper on Hizb ut Tahrir in October 2010 and there is no mention of such a court case in it. In fact, the paper keeps mentioning till the end that Hizb ut Tahrir is a banned organization.

I am still unsure whether there was such a case or not; but the main point here in question is plagiarism. I feel bad when I see established authors picking up lines from here and there. It negates their true caliber and it seems as if in order to meet the deadline, in order to fill out the space in newspaper they write in rush setting aside the ethics that a writer is expected to live  by.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 1:48 am

    I never liked Javed Chaudry. But its unfortunate that his plagiarized, emotional and emotional rants are popular among a vast majority of urdu speaking Pakistanis.
    Regarding HT, I could only find this quote all over the web:
    “‘Hizb ut-Tahrir has shown dissatisfaction on the policies of the [Pakistan] government which is the right of each and every citizen…I am unable to understand as to how distribution of these pamphlets in the general public was termed as terrorism or sectarianism.’ [Multan Bench, Lahore High Court, March 2005]“.
    PS: I am not an HT member but I know some HT guys from UK and Denmark and they all seem level-headed educated people. But it seems even if LHC court lifted the ban, later on the ban was again imposed which is still there. However one should keep in mind that HT is not banned in UK, Denmark and many many other developed region western and non-western countries. I would trust UK’s or Denmark’s justice system much more than Pakistani justice system.

    • July 28, 2011 9:00 am

      HuT is not banned in UK despite their desire because it is primarily a non-violent organization. There is no legal justification to ban them yet.

      I also see the same passage about LHC (Multan Bench) decision but there is no mention of it in any newspaper.

  2. July 28, 2011 1:50 am

    Also, I fail to see what lines Naeem Tahir copied from HT’s wiki page…

    • July 28, 2011 9:04 am

      On Wiki page the passage begins with ‘In Pakistan, HuT was proscribed by…”

      In Naeem Tahir’s article it is the 7th or if you are counting the italicized para in the beginning then it is the 8th one.

  3. August 2, 2011 8:04 pm

    Very relevant post pointing out an unfortunate reality! And what remains the sad fact is, that such examples never cease to drop in… Latest being the allegation of veteran Ikram Sehgal plagiarizing Abdullah Saad’s article…

  4. December 26, 2011 9:13 pm

    very interesting post to read and factual , thanks for the post

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