Three missing bloggers news of returning back to homes dominated both print and electronic media during the week. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned a program under allegations of spreading hatred, which was set aside by Sindh High Court (SHC).However, a social activist registered case against anchor, channel’s owner and others under sections of Anti Terrorism Act, Pakistan Penal Code and Prevention of Electronic crimes Act 2016.
Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS)and Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) appreciated the ban on anchor; while PBA and APNS submitted an application with police, seeking registration of criminal case against anchor, owner of the Bol channel and other management. State run TV channel banned two female anchors for violating the discipline of the channel.
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) monitoring found 50 news items related to media ethics category, 22 from media regulation,18 related to freedom of expression; six were from media development; three obituary news; one from media safety category while 12 news items covered miscellaneous topics in both TV channels and Newspapers.
Male news makers have the majority with 102 whereas female news makers were five during the seven days of media coverage.
Court suspended PEMRA’s ban on anchor
Geo News aired ticker on January 27 whileThe News, daily Jang on January 28, reported that SHC suspended PEMRA’s ban on Bol TV anchor Amir Liaquat Hussain’s programme “Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga” until February 1. The court also directed the authority and other defendants to submit their replies on the next date of hearing. The channel’s counsel Abdul Karim Khan submitted that PEMRA had banned the programme without giving any show cause notice besides also blocking the transmission of the TV.
In other story reported The Express Tribune, Dawn, Balochistan Express, daily Express, Pakistan Today reported on January 28, PEMRA issued a show cause notice to BolTV for disobeying its ban on anchor Liaquat and his program.
Capital TV aired breaking news on January 27 while The Express Tribune on January 28 reported the story;PBA submitted an application to Islamabad Police seeking registration of a criminal case against Bol News Network’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh and Hussain for ‘spreading hate and making malicious statements’ against PBA members.
Capital TV, Geo News, Dunya News aired tickers, breaking news and discussed in programmes on January 26 and 27 while on January 27 The Nation, The Express Tribune, Business Recorder, The News, Dawn, daily Pakistan, Balochistan Express, daily Amn, daily Nawa-i-Waqt reported, PEMRA slapped a ban on Hussain’sprogramme on BOL News. After monitoring for several weeks, the authority took the decision that Liaquat had repeatedly violated the electronic media code of conduct 2015, under PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and Rule 15 of PEMRA Rules 2009.
Morgah Police Station, Rawalpindi registered a case against Hussain, its owner and other responsible under Terrorism Act and other sections of Pakistan Panel Code on January 26. Muhammad Jibran Nasir, a lawyer and social activist filed the case and said that anchor had started a defamatory and life threatening campaign against him in his show on a private TV channel.
Aaj News, Capital TV,Dunya News, News One, Samaa aired detailed news and tickers on January 26, 27 while The Express Tribune, Dawn, Business Recorder, The News, daily Jang, daily Nawa-i-Waqt onJanuary 27 reported that, the representative bodies of media industry as well as journalists and columnists expressed concerns over launching the hate campaign against renowned media personalities and writers and welcomed PEMRA’s decision to ban the anchor.
APNS issued a statement, “The abusive language and hate speech has now surpassed all moral norms and values and can in fact incite violence by labeling media persons as anti-Islam and anti Pakistan, consequently putting their lives in danger”.
Similarly, the PBA condemned all forms of hate speech and expressed constant support to the government, PEMRA, law enforcement authorities and judiciary in action to protect the victims and against those using media as a weapon. CPNE in a separate statement welcomed the ban.
The News on January 25 reported,The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called a meeting on January 26 to discuss the plan of action following a protest against enforced disappearances led by civil society which saw a clash between activists and religious hardliners.
The participants also discussed the smear campaign by a private TV host, Liaquat, who is allegedly inciting hate speech against those who participated in the demonstration alongside those who are speaking for missing bloggers.
Missing activists return home
Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed, bloggers and social media activists who went missing, had been returned back to their homes. A lecturer at the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi and a rights activist, Haider had been missing since the evening of January 6. Two other social media activists, Goraya and Saeed, returned back and both were disappeared from Lahore on January 4; while bloggers Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas went missing from Sheikhupura and Islamabad on January 7 and 11 respectively, reported Dawn, The Express Tribune, The Nation, daily Jang, daily Nawa-i-Waqt, daily Amn, daily Express, Regional Times on January 29 reported the story.
Larkana Press Club reopened
Larkana Press Club was sealed on the order of the deputy commissioner to prevent clashes between the club members and outsiders on January 24 reported daily the News on January 25. The club was reopened on January 25, reported The Express Tribune, Dawn, daily Jang, daily Nawa-i-Waqt, daily Intekhab on January 26.
165 complaints against Urdu channels in UK
The complaints on Urdu language TV output in the United Kingdom are rising. In the cases concluded by Ofcom in the period 2013-2016, there were 165 complaints against Urdu language TV stations, 50 of which were upheld. Religious channels were the subject of 15 valid complaints, news channels were found in violation of the rules on 35 incidents, reported daily Dawn on January 25.
Two female anchors banned for defaming PTV
The alleged harassment case in the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) has taken a new twist as the channel management has slapped a ban on two female anchors Tanzeela Mazhar and Yashfeen Jamal, for defaming the organization on social media and talk shows.
Before taking the matter to media, both the anchors had complained to the management against an employee Agha Masood Shorish for alleged harassment.
On January 20, channel management issued circular stating that few PTV employees were using social media to comment on matters that were currently being inquired into officially. The notice further stated that no organization could afford such insulting and defamatory behavior of anchors in spite of their being on the payroll of the PTV, reported The Express Tribune on January 24.
Dawn News in its programme “News Wise” on January 23 and Aaj News in its programme “Spotlight” on January 25 discussed the harassment incident with female anchors in PTV.
Faith healers advertisements continue airing
Despite a ban imposed by PEMRA, local cable channels and radio stations in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa continued airing advertisements of faith healers and quacks. The electronic media watchdog had imposed a ban on such advertisements as many locals have been cheated by such faith healers. PEMRA had issued a notification in March last year directing all satellite, radio stations and cable television networks not to air commercials which promote faith-healers, quacks or Hakeems, reported The Express Tribune on January 23.
On January 28, Dawn published an editorial entitled “Pemra ban”. The television host has used his programme ‘Aisa Nahi Chalay Ga’ on Bol News as a bully pulpit to rouse hatred and incite violence and as a vehicle for carrying out a vicious personal vendetta.
“Pemra’s response — an open-ended, blanket ban apparently not preceded by any show-cause notice to the host — should be a cause of concern for the media. It is excessive, gives the impression of being arbitrary and can establish an unwelcome precedent in muzzling press freedom”.
How to trust media?
Daily Nawa-i-Waqt on January 25 published an article entitle “Media par kaisey yakeen ho?” written by Ameer Muhammad Khan. The writer in his piece of writing criticized media specifically the electronic media and stated that electronic media for its personal benefit or on the basis of wrong information present facts.
PPF monitored 53 items out of which there were 14 detailed news, 11 programs, 11 live coverage’s, 10 tickers and seven breaking news related to Pakistani media that were covered in the following television channels: 92 News, Aaj News, Abb Takk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya News, Express News, Geo News, Jaag News, Neo News, News One, Samaa and TV One.
Member of Faisalabad Press Club Sher Abbas died in a road accident near PindiBhattiyan, while two other members of the press club Muhammad Tahir and FarukhAiwangot injured. 92 News and Abb Takk aired tickers on January 23.
Out of 59 news items there were 25 events coverage, 22 press releases, eight interviews, three opinions and one press conference published in English and Urdu dailies including Dawn, The News, The Nation, The Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Balochistan Express, daily Jang, daily Dunya, daily Express, daily Nawa-i-Waqt, daily Intikhab, daily Amn, daily Pakistan.