Qandeel Baloch’s murder and Media
Mainstream and social media questioned the role of Pakistani media in honour killing of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch by his brother. Many criticized the media, particularly television for exploiting women for ratings and audiences.
Ansar Abbasi in his column, “Qandeel Baloch Kay Qatal Mei Media KaKirdar” (Role of media in Qandeel Baloch’s murder) published in the Jang newspaper on July 18, said “In the race of ratings media, specifically television channels are always searching for topics related to woman and they used Baloch for making money but did not realize the impact on society”
Columnist Rauf Klasra in the “Muqabil” on 92 News television channel on July 18, said, “Media played an important role in Baloch’s murder and it should accept the responsibility”
Dawn News channel on July 18 also discussed the same topic in a program “Zara Hat Kay”. Mazhar Abbas said, “Media is responsible in the murder of Baloch. They couldn’t decide editorially the consequences of Baloch’s video, there should be an editorial board in channels to decide the consequences of airing a particular story.”
SC questions PEMRA chairman
The Supreme Court directed the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to submit a report about actions taken against private news channels for running a campaign to malign the superior judiciary and its judges. Chairman PTA failed to appear as according to his counsel, he was busy at International Telecommunication Union Conference in Islamabad.
PEMRA chairman Absar Alam submitted that action had been taken against channels in whose programs disrespectful language had been used against the judges of the superior judiciary.
On July 19 ARY News in their program ‘Live with Dr. Shahid Masood’. The anchor, in his defence said he had not said anything disrespectful about retired judges. PEMRA was sending notices to ARY News on daily basis for maligning judges.
SC seeks reply from PEMRA, Government
The Supreme Court sought a reply from the federal government and PEMRA over the number of radio channels and production houses run by army’s media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Senior lawyer Asma Jahangir had submitted that the ISPR was running two radio channels on frequencies FM 89.04 and FM 96 that have an outreach of more than 55 cities without licenses. She added that PEMRA has not granted these channels licenses even though ISPR approached the regulator for it on June 18, 2010.
The Nation published a follow up news and Jang on July 22 reported that, Director General of PEMRA Mukhtar Ahmed in response of Asma Jahangir’s application said, ISPR had some kind of arrangement with the state-owned Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) to run its radio services and the authority had not issued any radio licenses to it.
ARY News channel on July 19 discussed the issue in program ‘The Reporters’, NEO News and Capital TV aired ticker and breaking news on July 20 and six newspapers, including Dawn, Pakistan Today, The News, Express Tribune and The Nation and Jang on July 21 and July 22 also published news reports.
PEMRA faces legal, operational challenges
PEMRA chairman AbsarAlam submitted a report to the Supreme Court regarding challenges faced by the regulatory body. He says, currently PEMRA can only monitor 50 channels, whereas it requires enormous financial resources to advance the technical ability of PEMRA so as to bring it to the level where it would be possible to monitor 107 channels. He said the monitoring section has only 29 employees while it requires 182 employees.
Media propaganda against PM fails
The News on July 23 published a report by journalists Tariq Butt titled “AJ&K polls: propaganda by a section of media against PM fails miserably” on the elections of Azad Jammu &Kashmir (AJ&K).
The report said victory of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in July 21 elections (AJ&K) has certainly infused enormous confidence in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to face the “plotters with a renewed resilience and buoyancy.”
The report went on to say several renowned channels remained busy in propaganda against the prime minister during his one and a half month absence from the country on health grounds. “These channels were bent upon pursuing policy of opposition for the sake of opposition” And added that this particular section of the media has been leveling allegations against the person of the prime minister since the launch of dharna (protest). This section of the media, however, miserably failed in their propaganda against the PM.
The report was in favor of PML (N) and lacked balance and objectivity.
“Breaking News” culture
Syed Hamzah Saleem Gilaniin his column“Media pathogens and civil-military harmony” in The Nation on July 19 analyzed the role of media in the promotion of strained relations between civil and military leadership. Giving the example of Panama issue, he said “A handful of media folks are adamant to promote a thought that Army Chief is extremely unhappy with the progress to resolve Panama issue and is all set to take over.”
The writer complained that the media exaggerate a story and take it to a different tangent to attract the viewers or readers.
Training Workshop for Journalists
ABB TAKK on July 20 aired a detailed news report, whereas Balochishtan Express on July 22 published a story, Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in collaboration with International Media Support and DANIDA organized three day training workshop for journalists at Quetta Press Club. Journalists were briefed of journalistic responsibilities through group work, how to report conflict reporting, democracy reporting and development reporting.
Other media related news during the week included Direct-to-Home (DTH) Licensing Conference held in PEMRA headquarters; annual elections of Khairpur Press Club and Awami Press Club, Malir;PFUJ Unification Committee’s (UC) decision to complete the process of unification by arranging PFUJ polls on August 27 in Peshawar; and Finance Ministry denial of the news that government had written off bank loans. The media also covered stories of the passing away of writer and columnist Muhammad Ahmed Sabzwari and journalist Abdul Hameed Arain.
During the week PPF monitored 30 news, tickers, headlines and programs related to Pakistani media that were covered in the following television channels – 92 News, Aaj News, AbbTakk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya News, Express News, Geo News, Jaag News, Khyber News, KTN, Neo News, NewsOne, Samaa and TV One.
There were 34 news stories, editorials, articles and photographs published in 16 daily English and Urdu language newspapers that include Dawn, The News, The Nation, Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Jang, Dunya, Roznama Express, Nawa-e-Waqt, Pakistan, Intikhab, Quami Akhbar, Amn, Roznama Pakistan.