Monitoring print and electronic media from June 27 to July 3, Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) foundissues related to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). They included PEMRA banninga Geo TV’s programmefor 3 days; Sindh High Court (SHC) suspendedthe PEMRA’s ban on ‘InaamGhar’; PEMRA approved issuance of licences; PEMRA asked to take action against some TV channels; a Hindu reporter faced discrimination; manynewspapers in Gilgit-Baltistan stop publishing; payment of State-owned television fees through electricity bills; attacks on somejournalists and protest against these attacks, annual elections of Hyderabad Press Club;the 6th Journalist excellence awards; and workshop on safety of journalists.
During the week, PPF found 50 news, tickers, headlines and programmes on electronic media, including 92 News, Aaj News, Abb Takk, 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 56 news stories, editorials, articles and pictures in 18 daily newspapers in English, Urdu and Sindhi languages that include Dawn, The News, The Nation, Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Jang, Dunya, Roznama Express, Nawa-i-Waqt, Pakistan, Intikhab, Quami Akhbar, Aman, Roznama Pakistan, Kawish, Ibrat and Awami Awaaz.
PEMRA banned Geo TV’s programme for 3 days
PEMRA banned Geo TV’s programme ‘InaamGhar’,a TV game show hosted by Amir Liaquat Hussain for three days for airing some indecent content.
Dawn, Pakistan Today, The News, Express Tribune, Jang, Aman, Roznama Pakistan and QaumiAkhbar reported the decision to ban the show from June 28 to June 30 was taken after PEMRA received hundreds of complaints regarding the programme airing inappropriate contents. The authority issued a show cause notice after June 6 episode, which showed re-enactment by the show’s host of a girl committing suicide. The episode also aired abusive language used by a participant. The regulatory authority also reviewed a female caller’s inappropriate phone call during June 25 transmission of the show.
Representatives from Geo Entertainment sought 15 days to submit a detailed reply regarding the complaints received about the show. The show’s host was also asked to apologize to viewers at the beginning of his show on July 1.
The Nation, Dawn, The News, Pakistan Today and Jang on June 29 reported while Geo News on June 28 aired the news that Sindh High Court (SHC) suspended the PEMRA’s three days ban on ‘InaamGhar’ till further orders.
In another story reported by Dawn on July 3, PEMRA challenged in Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) the suspension by SHC of its notification banning Geo TV’s Ramadan transmission. The apex court summoned PEMRA and deputy attorney general on July 4.
In other news stories reported by Roznama Express, The Nation, Business Recorder and Aman on July 1, Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage asked PEMRA to take action against the television channels violating its code of conduct regarding sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan.
According to the newspapers,Senator Kamil Ali Agha chairingthe committee meeting observed that channels had been showing indecent and substandard conversation by untrained artists who don’t have enough knowledge about religion and who are unable to promote and protect harmony.
AbsarAlam Chairman of PEMRA gave a thorough briefing about banning the programs while issuing notice to many programmes and channels. Giving an example he said, the regulatory body summoned Geo channel on June 27 and decided to ban ‘InaamGhar’ for three days also directed channel to air apology for showing suicide scenes and abusive language. However, the channel approached Sindh High Court and its Justice Shah Nawaz Tariq suspended the orders of the PEMRA on June 28, 2016.
On detailed account given by Chairman PEMRA, Senator NehalHashmireportedly commented that Sindh High Court was helping the channels violating the PEMRA rule and regulations.
In another case PEMRA Council of Complaints ordered all cable operators to include Geo in ‘news bouquet’.
The News and Jang on July 1 reported that, Dr Mehdi Hassan chaired a meeting at the PEMRA Regional Office on June 30. While hearing the complaint of Geo TV against cable operators, the council ordered all the cable operators to include Geo TV in their news bouquet.
PEMRA approves issuance of licences
PEMRA approved loop holders policy and gave go ahead for issuance of licenses for promotion of cable TV in the country.
The Nation and The News on June 30 reported that PEMRA officials said the decision of authority will be helpful in providing cable TV facility to far-off areas of the country and provide business opportunities to small investors. The authority also gave approval to IPTV licensing policy under which the country will be divided in three parts to ensure maximum investment opportunities.
Complaint against private channel
Jang on July 1 reported, opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said a private channel aired fake and baseless news against him that he had given advance payment of 4 billion rupees to some contractor for a construction company for some government projects. He asked chairman of PEMRA AbsarAlam to take strict action against the channel for airing fake news.
Discrimination of a Hindu reporter
A Hindu reporter was forced to drink water in a separate glass at his workplace when his colleagues came to know that he belongs to Hindu community.
Express Tribune on June 28, Regional Times on July 4 reported while Capital TV on June 28 discussed in a program ‘Seedhi Baat’ that Sahib Khan Oad who is working as a senior reporter in a government-owned news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), was barred by the bureau chief from using same glasses and utensils that are in use of his Muslim colleagues. It was reported that in the Holy month of Ramadan, Oad was not allowed to sit at the same dining table at the time of Iftar.
While APP Karachi Bureau Chief Parvez Aslam denied such reports, saying as he was suffering from flu so we suggested him to arrange a separate glass for him. Meanwhile, APP managing director Masood Malik said that they are inquiring the issue.
Dawn on July 1 and Express Tribune on July 2 reported that, the Hindu reporter Sahib Khan Oad says he is being pressurized to withdraw his allegations about facing discrimination on the basis of religion by his colleagues. He further added, “The bureau chief made me sit in his office for over four hours, pressurizing me into falsifying media reports on the incident. He even said ‘if you can take extreme measures, so can we’.
Regional Times and Dunya on July 3 reported that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNAs AijazHussainJakharani, Imran ZafarLaghari and ShaziaMarri have condemned this discrimination to the Hindu reporter.
They expressed solidarity with the reporter and pledged to raise the issue in the National Assembly and at other forums.
Demand to release Turkish Journalist
Members of civil society, press clubs, journalist unions and media organizations from all over the country have joined the campaign of Reporters Without Borders for the release of its representative in Turkey, ErolOnderoglu.
Dawn on June 28 reported the statement, “We, the Pakistani civil society, media rights groups, press clubs across the country and believers in the freedom of press demand of the Turkish government to release the representative of the Reporters Without Borders in Turkey since 1996, ErolOnderoglu”
A court in Istanbul kept Onderoglu in pre-trial detention along with two intellectuals on June 20.
Gilgit-Baltistanpapers stop publishing
Dozens of newspaper owners in Gilgit-Baltistan have stopped publishing their papersto protest the non-payment of their dues for publication of government advertisements.
Dawn on June 27 reported that not a single local newspaper was published from Gilgit-Baltistan on June 25. The owners said that around Rs50million dues were unpaid. Government had not paid their advertisement dues for past four years.
Jang on July 2 reported that while addressing a meeting with Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) Federal Secretary of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage Syed Imran Gardezi said, “All problems journalists were facing would be solved on priority basis”. During the meeting they also discussed issues of Gilgit-Baltistan newspapers and their protest against the non-payment of their dues for the publication of government advertisements.
Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah orders the Attorney General of Pakistan to appear on September 20.
Business Recorder, Dawn, Nawa-i-Waqt on June 30 reported that, the Attorney General of Pakistan is to appear in court on September 20 to explain that why the state-owned television fee is being paid through electricity bills. The fee imposition has prompted the court to question it over its exemption for other wireless devices such as mobile phones, I-Pads and wireless sets.
The News and Jang on July 2 reported that the media went silent after another news story that hit international media was proved to be fake. Continuous talk shows were held, columns were written on the issue and international media took the story in a perspective that Pakistan is unsafe for young girls. However, the forensic reports proved that 19-year old Murree school teacher was not burnt alive but had committed suicide because the boy with whom she was in love with cheated her.
The news channels were not sending their Sigital Satellite News Gathering vans to Murree to tell the public the real facts of the incident and anchors have also lost interest in the story.
Role of print media:
QaumiAkhbar and Roznama Express on June 27 reported that Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rasheed attended a session as a chief guest conducted by Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE). While addressing the audience he said, “Print media is playing a responsible role in Pakistan and the reason behind this is the editor’s department and clear editorial policy”.
Secretary General AijazulHaq said, “Main purpose of CPNE is responsible journalism, freedom of expression, right to access information and tackle the challenges that editors, journalists and newspaper organizations are facing.”
Pak-Iran Relations and media:
Express Tribune on June 29 reported while Geo News and Capital TV aired that Federal Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Minister Pervez Rasheed said media can be an effective tool in promoting people-to-people contact and removing misconceptions between Pakistan and Iran. He said this during a meeting with Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost.
Attacks on Journalists
Ibrat on June 28 reported that journalists of Bulri Shah Karim, a village of Sindh province protested against Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) Chief for threatening a reporter of Ibrat newspaper Rasheed Soomro. The protest took place in Tando Mohammad Khan and journalists demanded to take notice of this issue or they will continue the protest.
Awami Awaz on June 29 reported that some members of Khosa community of Umerkot along with weapons entered the Umerkot press club. They attacked the journalists and also threatened to murder them.
The incident happened after the car of Dilbar, reporter of Awami Awaz and General Secretary ofUmer Kot press clubcollided with the attackers’ car.
Hyderabad Press Club Elections
Nawa-i-Waqt on July 1 and Pakistan on July 2 reported that all candidates of Democratic journalists group and Aqeel Ibrahim group succeeded with majority in 2016-17 annual elections of Hyderabad Press Club. Wasim Khan with 161 votes was elected as president, Ayub Laghari with 164 votes as Vice President. Maqbool Madah bagged 162 votes for post of Joint Secretary.
Roznama Express and Aman on July 3 reported that elected members of Tando Jam press club, Zonal Incharge and workers of Mutahida Qaumi Movement Hyderabad chapter and Pakistan workers federations congratulated the elected members of Hyderabad Press Club on their victory in the annual elections.
Journalist Excellence Awards
Daily Pakistan on July 2 reported that ‘6th Journalist Excellence Award’ and a seminar on ‘Media and Society’ was organized by Journalists Welfare Association at Arts Council of Pakistan on July 2. Journalists who have successfully achieved their goals in the field of journalism received awards whereas children of nominated journalists weregiven stipends.
Workshop on safety of journalists
The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives [CPD] organized a two days training workshop on “Physical Safety of Journalists” for master trainers on June 27 which concluded on June 28.
Regional Times on June 29 reported that senior trainer Khuram Badar Alam and Provincial Coordinator Sindh Toufique Ahmed Wassan conducted the workshop and stressed on awareness to ensure safety of journalists. The punch line of two-day training workshop was that a professional, planned, balanced and ethical reporting decreases risks for journalists and media workers to a larger extent. The journalists should know that no story is more important than their life.While performing their duty, their own safety and security should be their first priority.