Is that plagiarism?
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.