PPF Weekly Media Content Monitoring Report of November 14-20

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PPF Weekly Media Content Monitoring Report of November 14-20

Legislation for journalists’ protection soon: Information Minister                          

While speaking at a program “Meet the Press” at Lahore Press Club State Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb said that incumbent government is giving due attention to safety and training of journalists.

She further added that draft of legislation for protection and capacity building of journalists was being prepared and it would be shared with all the press clubs and media houses before its approval. Abb Takk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dunya News, Neo News and News One aired tickers on November 18 while different newspapers including The News, daily Express, daily Nawa-i-Waqt on November 19 also published the news story.


Government committed to facilitate media industry: Information Minister                    

In a meeting with the delegation of All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Information minister Ms Aurangzeb expressed her resolve and assurance to freedom of expression and urged media to continue playing its vital role in further strengthening democracy and fostering democratic values and norms in the society.

Abb Takk, Geo and Jaag News aired news tickers on November 15 while The Nation, Pakistan Today, daily Jang, daily Nawa-i-Waqt, daily Express reported the story on November 16.


TV channel to face contempt of court case                                                                    

The Supreme Court issued contempt notices to reporters, anchor person, producer, director news and management of Din TV news channel for airing a news package and footage on November 19 about the alleged meeting between Judge Justice Amir Hani Muslim and PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi regarding Panama Leaks case, pending before the court.

The case has been fixed for November 28 and the respondents have been asked to submit their statements and appear in person. While court also observed that the news report was totally fake, baseless and a fabrication of the imagination of the reporter.

Dunya News and Geo news reported the story on November 19 while on November 20 The News, Dawn, Business Recorder also published the story.


Rift on DTH auction: Notice to TV channel and drive against Indian content                  

Cable operators staged a protest outside the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) headquarters after the press conference of authority’s chairman and demanded to delay its auction of Pakistani Direct to Home (DTH) service.

Cable Media Association President Sohail Iqbal said the launch of DTH was not acceptable since the cable operators had recently invested billions of rupees to convert the analogue cable system into the digital one.

92 News, Aaj News, Abb Takk, ARY, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya, Express News, Jaag, Geo News, Neo, News One and Samaa covered the press conference of Cable Operators Association and Cable Media Association on November 14 and 15 while on November 15 The Express Tribune also published the story.

In other story reported by Geo News on November 15 and Business Recorder on November 16, a meeting was held between Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and Cable Operators in Islamabad in which cable operators’ representatives informed PBA office-bearers about their failed meeting with the Chairman PEMRA on cable digitization and DTH. While PBA assured the cable operators that it will try its utmost in helping to resolve the issue at the earliest.

While addressing press conference leaders of Indus Cable Operator Association demanded PEMRA to postpone the auction of DTH service. The press conference was reported by daily Intekhab and daily Pakistan on November 17.

PEMRA issued a show cause notice to Sabzbaat television for airing Indian content in its transmission.

In a letter PEMRA General Manager Operations of Islamabad wrote that according to the daily transmission report from November 4 to November 12, it was confirmed that the channel had being airing English movies dubbed in Hindi language Indian songs daily in complete violation of PEMRA laws. The News on November 18 reported the story.


12 companies shortlisted for DTH license                                                                  

PEMRA shortlisted 12 companies to participate in the bidding process for DTH service licence to be held on November 23. Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam said that three licences would be given auctioned in open bidding, he shared these views while addressing to a press conference.

Alam said that operation against use of illegal Indian DTH would continue till it was completely eliminated. Different television channels and newspapers including Abb Takk, ARY, Aaj News, Capital TV, Dawn, Geo, Neo, News One, Dunya News on November 14, 15, The Express Tribune, The News, The Nation, Dawn, Business Recorder, Balochistan Express, daily Jang covered the press conference on November 15 while daily Jang and Business Recorder also published a picture of Chairman PEMRA while he was addressing a press conference.

In other stories reported by The News, The Nation, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today on November 18 while The Express Tribune on November 19, PEMRA is looking for the biggest ever investment in electronic media through auction of founding and operating the Direct to Home (DTH) distribution services in Pakistan on November 23.

A PEMRA official told the bidding of DTH licence will start from Pakistan rupees 200 million; however $150 million foreign investment would be brought in Pakistan directly through the DTH service.


Media Campaign: PTI lawyer recuse from Panama papers case                                  

Senior party leader and lawyer Hamid Khan submitted a letter to the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan and requested to recuse him from pleading the Panama Papers case and said that media campaign made it impossible for him to continue representing the PTI in Supreme Court.

Abb Takk, Aaj News, Capital TV, Dawn, Dunya, Geo News, Jaag, Neo News, News One, Samaa aired tickers, breaking News, detailed news on November 18 and 19 while different newspapers including The News, Business Recorder, The Express Tribune, The Nation, Dawn, Pakistan Today, daily Nawa-i-Waqt, daily Express, daily Intekhab, daily Dunya, daily Jang, daily Pakistan reported the story on November 19.


News leak probe                                                                                                              

The News on November 16 reported that the inquiry committee formed to investigate the story published in Dawn newspaper on October 6, has officially started working from November 16. Committee has summoned former federal minister for information Pervez Rasheed to record his statement. The committee would also summon Cyril Almeida, who had reported the story.

According to the officials of the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP), the committee formed to investigate the source behind the planted story may fail to complete its job within the given 30 days, as rules do not allow the investigators to question the concerned journalist or the newspaper staff.

According to Section 14 of the PCP Ordinance 2002, “The council or the commission shall not compel a publisher, an editor or a journalist to reveal the source of information.” The Nation on November 16 reported the story.

Members of the journalist community discussed the role of the Pakistan Press Council (PPC) in the freedom of the media at Karachi Press Club. Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan hosted the event and said in the last 15 days some important issues had come to the front regarding freedom of the press followed by news leaks.

While journalist Khurshid Tanveer, who participated in the council meeting, added that the issue should be seen in light of Article 19 (a) of the constitution of Pakistan. The meeting was reported by Dawn and daily Jang on November 18.

Eminent journalist and human rights activist I. A. Rehman while addressing a seminar on challenges to freedom of press said, “If there are security issues then there should be more freedom of expression, because putting restrictions on people means you will be taking decisions with a limited mindset.” reported by Dawn on November 16.

Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Mansoor Ali Shah has rejected the plea against investigation committee formed to probe the News leaks matter. Secretary General of Pakistan Awami Tehreek Khurram Nawaz Gandapur said that the formation of investigating committee is not right as it is the matter of national security so the commission should be formed under Army Act while court considered the plea illegal. Daily Express, daily Dunya, daily Amn, daily Intekhab on November 17 reported the story.


ARY made malicious allegations against minister: Ofcom                                            

Britain’s media regulator, Ofcom has stated that ARY News has made malicious and false allegations against Pakistan’s Minister for Kashmir Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir. The media regulator made the verdict while acting upon a complaint made by Sakib Barjees, son of Barjees Tahir.

On January 26, 2016 channel in its programme ‘Kab Tak’ discussed the alleged corruption amongst government appointed land agents who keep registers of land (or Patwaris) in the Nankana district of Lahore in Pakistan and their links to government ministers from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. The reporter of the programme Asad Kharal made various comments on Barjees and blamed him of being involved in fraud. On November 15, The News and daily Jang reported the story.


Articles & Editorials                                                                                                        

The Express Tribune on November 14 published an article written by Kamal Siddiqi with the title “A bill for journalists” in which the writer has discussed the bill for the safety and protection of journalists which according to state minister for Information will be ready by November 20.

The writer mentioned, the bill that government is going to pass is not new one but it was introduced in 2011 by Professor Khurshid Ahmed of Jamat-i-Islami and 21 other senators.

Siddiqi highlighted many steps included in the bill for the safety and security of journalists but there is also one controversial clause in the bill which states that in case of ‘national security’, Supreme Court could ask about the sources of information. This clause according to the writer has given the bill a new life after the change of Information minister.

The Express Tribune on November 18 published an article with the title “Who is responsible?” written by Mohammad Ali Babakhel. The writer highlighted the slapping incident of anchorperson by FC (Frontier Constabulary) personnel. The writer criticized both the parties and said the incident happened not only because of poor professional capacity of two individuals but it also represents institutional deficiencies as well. Both the sides should be given benefit of doubt as it seems unintentional on their part.

Dawn also published an editorial on November 18 with the title “Panama Papers and media court”. The editorial while discussing the massive significance of the Panama Papers hearings in the Supreme Court highlighted the sections of the media that are compounding the challenges for the court with a kind of coverage of the Panama Papers hearings that in some cases can be seen as attempting to influence the court and prejudging the conclusion of the hearing.

A circus-like atmosphere has been created and TV studios have been apparently converted into artificial courtrooms where anchors, analysts and politicians appear to be playing the role of judge, jury and assassin.


Elections of journalist unions                                                                              

Elections of all unions of journalists in the country will be held on January 30, 2017 while the elections of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) will be held next year on March 30. The decision was taken in the Ad hoc committee meeting of PFUJ held under the supervision of Chairman Muhammad Riaz, daily Jang on November 20 reported the story.


Photojournalist Azhar Jafri passes away                                                              

Award winning photojournalist Azhar Hussain Jafri passed away due to a cardiac arrest. Jafri started his career with daily Musawat and also served as a chief photographer for daily Dawn. The News and Dawn published news stories while Aaj News also aired detailed news on November 18.

PPF monitored 101 items out of which there were 34 news tickers, 31 press conferences, 12 detail news, 10 press briefings, eight breaking news, five programs and one headline, 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 73 news items there were 26 events coverage, 19 press releases, 11 press briefings, 11 press conferences, three interviews, and three opinion piece 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.

According to PPF monitoring 83 news items were related to media regulation, 39 media ethics, freedom of expression news items were 30, twelve news items regarding media safety, three obituary news items; while three of media development and four news items were monitored as general issues.

PPF monitored 174 news items in both newspapers and TV channels during the week. Majority of the news makers were 149 males, 18 females; while in seven news items gender of spokesperson was not mentioned.