On February 14, 2010 a column “Smokers’ Corner: A herd of sheep?” by a veteran columnist Nadeem F. Paracha was published in Dawn, a leading Pakistani English newspaper. However, four days later on February 18, 2010 the same write-up, by a different catch line and a different author, appeared in the Opinion section of The News, another widely read Pakistani English newspaper. The catch line of the article published in The News is ‘Our Middle Class’ and the contributor’s name is Agha Haider Raza, who happens to be a blogger.
It is not clear yet whether Agha Haider Raza has tried playing some prank with The News but certainly it is a clear case of plagiarism and a breach of copyrights. The word plagiarism as defined in dictionary is literary theft and any writer can be accused of committing such a thievery if he/she copies any other writer’s language or idea without giving proper acknowledgment to the original writer.
This news has stirred a reaction on twitter, which is a social networking website. Nadir Hassan, who writes for the Newsline Magazine, broke this news first on tweeter and he appeared surprised that how any one could think of plagiarizing Nadeem F. Paracha aka NFP with a supposition that such an act would go un-noticed. Kulsoom Lakhani, who blogs at CHUP was amazed and questioned why Agha Haider Raza had sent that particular piece as his own write-up to The News, despite the fact that he had written NFP’s name as the author in his own blog.
Another famous blogger Tazeen, suspected the judgment of the editors of The News that they had published such a plagiarized article without any verification. But Agha Haider Raza’s plagiarism case is not the only one in the history of Pakistani media. Earlier on January 15, 2009 Owais Ehsan of Pro-Pakistan blog had criticized Geo TV for copying two paragraphs of his article ‘‘Shakeel Siddiqui Pakistani Comedian Beaten Up in India’. Similarly, on February 13, 2009 Kashif Aziz of Chowrangi had also registered his protest of Daily Times’ copying one of his post about a school in
It is worth mentioning, that earlier the blame of plagiarism was generally placed on Pakistani students and academics. However, with the surfacing of the information of plagiarism of NFK’s article by Agha Haider Raza and few other cases cited above, it can be inferred that even the Pakistani media is not free of such ills. But the question remains that what impact would such news carry for The News. Certainly, with the wider circulation of this news on social networking sites such as twitter and facebook, the readership of The News would e reduced to a certain degree. Another possible affect could be a case of infringement of copyrights by NFP (if he wants to claim his copyrights) against The News and Agha Haider Raza which would impinge on The News’ reputation and integrity. Hopefully, The News would learn a lesson after this case under discussion and avoid breaching of copyrights in future.