According to Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) monitoring 69 news items were related to freedom of expression, 20 media safety and general news items were 12, five news items regarding media obituary; while one related to media ethics and one media development.
PPF monitored 108 news items in both newspapers and TV channels during the week. Majority of the news makers were 76 males, 25 females; while in seven news items gender of spokesperson was not mentioned.
Court restored the licence of TV channel
Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza of Lahore High Court (LHC) held the hearing of the case of Din news channel against Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Court dismissed PEMRA’s decision to ban the channel for one month and ordered to restore the licence of channel, reported daily Jang, daily Pakistan, daily Express on December 3.
PEMRA had suspended the licence of Neo News and Din News with imposing fine of one million Pakistan rupees on both the channels for airing baseless allegations against the Judge Superior Judiciary as per report of The News on November 28.
A two-member bench of Supreme Court (SC), headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Maqbool Baqir, held the hearing of a suo moto case against the management of Din news channel for airing false and baseless news regarding a meeting between Justice Amir Hani Muslim and PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi.
SC asked the management of the channel to file an apology stating that the aired news was “false and fabricated”.
While Barrister Ali Zafar, representing Din News shareholders, Mehmood Sadiq and Uzma Mehmood Sadiq, told the court that his client had filed an unconditional and sincere apology. Neo News aired breaking news, tickers, detailed news and programs on November 28, 29, 30 and December 1; while Business Recorder, The News and daily Amn reported the story on November 29.
APNS, PBA and journalists unions condemned PEMRA’s decision
All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) strongly condemned PEMRA’s decision to suspend licences of Neo News and Din News for airing a news item regarding the judge of Supreme Court. According to PBA, “Suspending a TV channel’s license is equal to killing it”.
In a joint statement issued by APNS President Sarmad Ali and Secretary General Umer Mujib Shami said, it must be emphasized that mistakes committed by one or two employees should not result in penalizing hundreds of other workers, reported The News, The Nation, Business Recorder, daily Nawa-i-Waqt on November 29; while Neo News and Dunya News aired tickers on November 28 and 29.
Different journalists’ unions of Sukkur, Hyderabad, Kandhkot, Sujawal, Kunri, Badin, Larkana staged protest demonstration against PEMRA’s decision to suspend licence of two channels. During a protest at Hyderabad Press Club the protest vice President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Hameed ur Rehman said, PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam suspended the licence of Neo News on personal hatred and animosity. The protest was reported by different newspapers and channel throughout the week Abb Takk, Dunya News, Capital TV, Neo News aired headlines, tickers and detailed news on November 28, 30 and December 1, 2, 3 while daily Intekhab, daily Pakistan, daily Amn published stories on November 28, 29 December 2, 3 and 4.
Journalists’ safety bill
Minister of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the legislative process for the safety and security of journalists was in progress and a bill would be presented in the Parliament early next year.
She was talking with the office-bearers and members of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors on December 2. ARY News, Capital TV, Dunya News, News One, Abb Takk and Express News on December 2 and 3 aired breaking news, tickers and detailed news while Regional Times, Business Recorder, The Nation, The Express Tribune, Pakistan Today, The News, daily Jang, on December 3 reported the event.
RTI bill to be presented in NA soon
Minister of Information Ms Aurangzeb while addressing the media persons at National Press Club said that Right to Information (RTI) bill will be presented in the next session of National Assembly. She further added that freedom of expression is essential for the betterment of society and it is the responsibility of the media to follow the code of conduct, Capital TV, Geo News, Jaag News, Neo News aired tickers and headline on November 30 while Dawn and The Express Tribune on December 1 reported the story.
News gate issue
LHC has asked federal government to submit reply on a petition challenging the formation of an inquiry committee, headed by retired justice Aamir Raza A. Khan, to investigate the News gate.
Former law minister Babar Awan represented the petitioner and challenged that all the members of the inquiry committee belonged to the Punjab and had close relations with the Sharif family. While Chief Justice of LHC Syed Mansoor Ali Shah postponed the hearing till December 14. The News, daily Jang, daily Express reported the story on December 3.
KP Standing Committee demand coverage on PTV
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Public Relations demanded of federal government to increase the coverage of the province on state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) in its news bulletin, otherwise it will demand Rs 500 million from the sums collected for the national television through electricity bills. Committee also demanded Abaseen TV channel for the province. Business Recorder and The Nation on December 2 reported the story.
Daily Amn on November 28 reported that PTV made a record by not airing any news related to Sindh, KP and Balochistan government in their news bulletin of November 27. In the one hour bulletin mostly news stories were related to Punjab government.
Media houses attack case
The Anti Terrorism Court reserved the verdict on the bail plea of two accused involved in August 22 media house attack case. The court heard the arguments of accused Hassan Alam and Faisal and reserved the judgment for December 15. Geo News on November 30 aired a ticker while daily Pakistan on December 1 reported the story.
IHC rejected plea to dismiss arrest warrant of ARY CEO
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) postponed the hearing of case filed by Jang-Geo Group against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ARY Salman Iqbal. Independent Media Corporation (Jang-Geo Group) filed a criminal case against Salman Iqbal CEO of ARY for the tarnishing organization’s name on unjustified basis.
IHC postponed the hearing for next week after declining the plea to dismiss his arrest warrant again. While Justice Athar Minallah stated that an interim order had not been issued to dismiss the arrest warrant for Iqbal. News was only reported by Daily Jang on December 1 and The News on December 2 reported the story.
Former General Manager (GM) of Pakistan Television and writer Burhanuddin Hassan passed away at the age of 86. Dawn on November 29 reported the story.
Journalist, radio compère, writer, poet and actor Parwano Bhatti passed away at the age of 83 on December 1, The Express Tribune on December 2 reported the story.
While on December 2 and 3 daily Amn also reported the passing away story of journalist and former editor of daily Amn Basheer Siddiqui.
Right to Information
The Nation on December 2 published an article with the title “Right to Information and security” written by Ayesha Jawad & Khushboo Ejaz. The writer discussed the importance of right to information for a democratic society and highlighted the recent issues of ‘Memogate’ and ‘Dawn leaks’. The writer said in these scandals a clear rift could be seen between the powerful generals of the country with the current government of the time on sharing of information.
Such scandals not only triggered the long lasting debate on civil-military relations but also question the credibility of news, sources of leakages and the weak privacy structure of the information department.
Credibility of English and Urdu columns
Pakistan Today on November 28 published an article with the title “The credibility of English and Urdu columns” written by Aisha Noor, in which the writer distinguished between the writing style of both Urdu and English language columnists. Giving the example of Dawn story the writer said freedom of press sometimes ignores interests of society, not taking into account the credibility of articles published in newspapers. According to the writer topics, research, and farsightedness is more valuable than the style of writing in any language.
Ailing journalist demand financial aid
A senior journalist, Sikandar Ali Mahesar from Mehar is facing critical condition and lost his eyesight due to illness. He demanded financial aid from Sindh CM. Due to poverty he cannot continue his treatment, reported by Regional Times on November 29.
Journalists’ contribution to society praised
District and Sessions Judge Attock Sohail Nasir said that journalists were playing a role of bridge between state institutions and citizens. The role of journalists cannot be denied as it is the fourth pillar of the state. He was addressing the concluding ceremony of 150 years celebrations of the LHC held in Attock. The Nation on December 4 reported the story.
PPF monitored 57 items out of which there were 22 detailed news, 18 tickers, eight breaking news, seven programs and two headlines 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.
Out of 51 news items there were 39 events coverage, five press releases, five press briefings and two opinions 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.