Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) monitored print and electronic media’s week-long news from June 20 to June 26 in which following media related news were recorded: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) invites applications for issuing DTH satellite TV distribution service licenses; PEMRA asks TV channels to broadcast apologies for controversial views; Notice issued to private TV channel, PEMRA sends Maryam Nawaz’s complaint to Council of Complaints (CoC); Protest held against ban on programme host; LHC directs PEMRA to ensure implementation of its code of conduct; IHC orders ARY Channel’s CEO, anchor and journalist to submit reply on June 29; IHC issues notices for restoring GEO TV’s position; and women, media and ethics.
During the week, PPF found 42 news, tickers, headlines and programmes in electronic media including Aaj News, 92 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 54 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-e-Waqt, Pakistan, Intikhab, Quami Akhbar, Aman, Kawish, Ibrat and Awami Awaaz.
PEMRA invites applications for issuing DTH satellite TV distribution service licenses
PEMRA has invited applications for issuing DTH satellite TV distribution service licenses to register companies for 15-year period.
Business Recorder and The News on June 20 reported that PEMRA has asked interested companies to submit their applications by August 15 along with a non-refundable demand draft or pay order of Rs 500,000. The short listed candidates will be announced on September 19 and will be invited to participate in the bidding process for issuance of DTH licenses.
According to PEMRA officials, the rollout of DTH services in the country would boost the broadcast sector and help in content creation. Expansion of native digital TV services would also help control illegal TV transmission from neighbouring countries
PEMRA asks TV channels to broadcast apologies for controversial views
PEMRA on June 20 directed two private TV channels to broadcast apologies for promoting controversial and sectarian views during their Ramadan transmissions.
The Nation on June 21 and Business Recorder on June 22 reported and Dawn News television channel on June 20 discussed in a program “Zara Hat Kay” that after airing apology, the ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi and Shabbir Abu Talib will be lifted, after which they will be able to take part in Ramadan shows.
PEMRA had earlier barred Abbasi and Talib from hosting their Ramadan shows on Aaj TV and NewsOne and other TV channels. It also warned if Abbasi, Talib and religious preacher Maulana Kokab Noorani appear on TV channels and discuss the controversial issue or any other such topic, then the programme will also be banned.
While Neo News in its programme “Live with Nasrullah Malik” dicussed Ramadan transmission ethics, and said that television channels should follow them.
On June 21, Business Recorder reported that on behalf of the Aaj TV management, Shahab Zuberi tendered an unconditional apology for unintentionally hurting the sentiments of Muslims in Pakistan and abroad through inappropriate remarks given by Abbasi in a Ramadan show.
Nawa-i-Waqt on June 20 carried a report about a protest held by Fidayan Khatam-e-Nubuwat outside Karachi Press Club against the ban on Shabbir Abu Talib. The protesters carried banners and placards which stated PEMRA should stop supporting Qadyant and said that the ban on Talib is not justified.
In another case reporter by The News and Jang on 20, PEMRA Islamabad Council of Complaints under the leadership of Chairperson Shamim Humayun held a hearing of the complaint filed by Senator Abdul Rehman Malik against Channel 24. During the hearing, the channel apologized for insulting him in its programme “Mere Aziz Humwatno”. The council also ordered the channel to issue a warning and to telecast the apology during its prime time transmission.
PEMRA also issued a show-cause notice to a private TV channel for broadcasting offensive remarks given by a panelist during a live TV show.
Pakistan Today on June 22 lifted a news that panelist Ilyas Bilour used abusive remarks regarding the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government during a show “Aap Ka Budget 2016-2017” on Metro 1 News television channel, which were aired without being censored. The channel violated the code of conduct approved by the Supreme Court of Pakistan by airing the abusive remarks.
PEMRA sends Maryam Nawaz’s complaint to Council of Complaints
PEMRA in an other case referred Maryam Nawaz’s complaint against Channel 24 TV programme “Khara Sach” to its Council of Complaints (CoC) for further action.
The Nation and Pakistan Today on June 22 reported that Maryam, the daughter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in her complaint stated that Mubasher Luqman, the programme’s host leveled baseless allegations against her.
During the programme, the host showed a two-and-a-half year old picture, and claimed that Maryam was issuing directives to the cabinet members and in the absence of her father, who had undergone a heart-surgery in London recently, was running the state’s affairs. The host also claimed that Maryam had the codes of Pakistan nuclear programme, which was not possible as per law and the Constitution.
Jang on June 24 reported PEMRA CoC Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recommended a fine of Rs 100,000 on Samma TV channel for airing false news on the death of Station House Officer, Prang Police Station Charsada on April 23, this year.
The fine was imposed on the TV channel under the chairmanship of Abdus Sattar Khan at PEMRA Regional Office, Peshawar. The complaint was lodged by Muhammad Nadir Khan Advocate against programme “News at Six” aired by ARY News on April 30, 2016, the Council took serious notice of non-appearance of representative of channel before the council and deferred the matter till next meeting, failing which exparte decision will be taken on the matter.
LHC directs PEMRA to ensure implementation of its code of conduct
Dawn, Express Tribune, The News and Jang on June 24 and Amn on June 26 reported that Lahare High Court (LHC) has directed PEMRA to ensure implementation of its code of conduct and clamp down on cable network channels for airing pornography and advertising black magic and quackery.
This was stated in a written reply submitted on behalf of PEMRA’s Regional General Manager (Lahore) during hearing of a petition filed by Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed who challenged levy of PTV fee in electricity bills and exhibition of indecent advertisements, dramas and entertainment programmles on private cable television channels.
The counsel also argued that the cable operators were blatantly violating the “Indecent Advertisement Act” and core values of Islamic state by showing Indian porn stars in products’ promotion.
According to the news stories of Pakistan Today on June 20, Express Tribune on June 21 and Jaag News television channel on June 20, the interior ministry requested PEMRA to make the TV channels to consider the sensitivity involved in high-profile under-trial prisoners and avoid telecasting such stories based on classified information.
A statement issued on June 20 said that any commentary on such leaked videos was undue interference in the investigation process and was tantamount to the media trial of the suspects. Such reports are in violation of journalistic norms and the rules of freedom of speech. The TV channels’ such behaviour would not only be detrimental to the investigative process but can also negatively affect court proceedings. Unprofessional and irresponsible analysis by the panellists and anchors casts a negative impact on the judicial system.
Salman Haider, in a programme “Tonight with Moid Pirzada” on Dunya News on June 26, discussed the sharing information related to high-profile under-trial prisoners.
IHC orders ARY Channel’s CEO, anchor and journalist to submit reply on June 29
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders ARY Channel’s CEO, anchor and journalist to submit reply on June 29.
The News reported on June 23, Additional and Sessions judge IHC Abida Sajjad, while hearing a defamation case on June 22, summoned ARY channel’s CEO Salman Iqbal, journalist Asad Kharal and anchor person Arshad Sharif on June 29.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had filed a defamation case of Rs 1 billion as damage against ARY channel’s CEO, anchor and journalist for broadcasting fake news of his meeting with Panama’s finance minister on their channel.
The issues was also discussed on June 21 at 92 News in its programme “Muqabil”.
IHC issues notices for restoring GEO TV’s position
The Islamabad High Court on June 23 issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s secretary, PEMRA chairman and cable operators for restoration of GEO TV Network’s position.
The News and Jang on June 23 reported that the petition was filed in the IHC against placing the Geo TV channel, the most popular network of the country, on the last numbers of cable. In the petition filed under Article 199 of the Constitution, the Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd had held the information secretary respondent.
The petition mentions that the PEMRA on June 6, 2014 imposed a fine of Rs 10 million and suspended the Geo News transmission for 15 days amid situation arising out of the attack on renowned journalist Hamid Mir. But despite the fact that the petitioner faced the punishment, some cable operators delayed the restoration of transmission but some others didn’t restore it, resulting in huge losses.
In the petition filed through Asma Jahangir advocate, it was requested that orders should be issued to PEMRA to take action against the violating cable operators, execute the June 20, 2014 orders concerning Geo TV Network transmission and restoring the Geo TV channels at their slots as of April 19, 2014.
Women, media and ethics
Aks Research and Publication Centre organized an event at a local hotel in which a booklet, “Women, Media and Ethics: Bridging the Gap” was also launched.
Dawn, Business Recorder, Roznama Express, The News and Dunya on June 26 reported that the booklet, which was published with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy, reinforces that women’s rights issues are actually human rights issues. The booklet also highlighted how issues related to women were not treated with the necessary tact and sensitivity they require.