Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) monitored print and electronic media’s week-long news from June 6 to 12 in which it found following issues: PEMRA decided to launch a crackdown on illegal Indian Direct to Home Licensing (DTH) television business, Sindh Assembly was set to introduce improved security system inside and outside its building from its session scheduled to be held on June 11, Express News reporter was assaulted in Islamabad for shooting with his camera, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf apologized for misbehaving with journalist in London, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a notice to Urdu1 television channel for airing indecent scenes.
PPF monitored 47 news, articles, editorials, 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.
There were 51 clippings related to reports aired on television channels 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.
PEMRA to launch crackdown on illegal DTH television business
PEMRA decided to launch a crackdown on illegal Indian Direct to Home Licensing (DTH) television business because this business has been sending billions of foreign exchange to India.
Jang reported on June 6 that PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam wrote letters to heads of Inter-Services Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau and Intelligence Bureau. These organizations were requested to nominate their representatives from scale number 10 or the equivalent rank as part of PEMRA team to check this business.
PEMRA also decided to transparently and impartially auction Pakistani DTH within six months and issue license coming December. It said that Indian television channels and other illegal Indian DTH programs would not be viewable through Pakistani DTH.
Sting operation by television anchor
The Sindh Assembly was set to introduce improved security system inside and outside its building from its session scheduled to be held on June 11.
Express Tribune reported on June 10 that the improved security system was introduced after the ‘sting operation’ on April 29, 2016 by ARY News anchor who entered the assembly session with a pistol in order to expose the poor security measures for the assembly. Since then, the assembly’s Secretariat has cancelled all media passes issued on the recommendation by the Sindh Information Department and has decided to issue new passes to reporters after proper verification.
Despite having the passes, no one would be allowed inside the assembly until or unless they give their biometrics. Six latest biometric machines have been installed in the assembly building and three scanning machines placed in order to check the bags of people attending the session.
On June 8, Regional Times and Business Recorder reported that all the recognized media organizations have been asked to apply for new passes through reference letter along with copies of Computerized National Identity Card, Office Card and two fresh photographs.
Sindh Secretariat administration decided to allow six representatives from each electronic media organization and three from each print media entity to cover the Sindh Assembly’s annual budget 2016-17 session.
According to 92 News, ARY News, Dunya News, Neo News, NewsOne and Abb Takk News on June 11, media and Special Branch personnel had a clash outside the Sindh Assembly due to repeated checking process.
Media persons assaulted for making video with cell phone
On June 6, Zafar Gondal, an accused in corruption case of Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) assaulted Express News reporter in the premises of a court in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Express News television channel and Daily Express on June 6 and 7 reported the incident.
According to the Express News reporter Nadeem Asghar tried to make video with cell phone the appearance of Gondal in the court before his hearing in the corruption case.
Gondal snatched his mobile phone and press card. When he asked to return his cell phone, Gondal slapped him.
PEMRA has issued a notice to Urdu1, an entertainment television channel, for airing indecent scenes in a drama serial Ye Hain Mohabbatein.
According to Daily Amn, the episode of drama serial broadcast on June 1 showed the characters engaged in acts of intimacy, which was in violation of the Electronic Media Ordinance 2015.
The TV channel had been warned earlier as well when it showed questionable scenes. The channel was asked not to air dramas that violate PEMRA rules. PEMRA also said that it would take further steps on its own if the channel fails to provide an answer till June 18.
On June 10 Nawa-e-Waqt, Intikhab reported that Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) leader, Shah Owais Noorani said that Ramadan transmissions in Pakistani television channels had been becoming source of vulgarity.
Noorani said the print media’s role as compared to electronic media in Ramadan was appreciative, as newspapers published excellent and well-written topics. On the other hand, electronic media’s Ramadan transmissions seemed like wedding functions.
PTI apologized to journalist for abusing him
PTI apologized to a Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Ali Syed, after the party activists abused and used vulgar language against him and other journalists in a PTI protest outside Hasan Nawaz Sharif’s flat in London on May 25.
The News and Jang reported that the attack was led by Tariq Mahmood and vulgar language was also used supported by PTI senior leader Faisal Khawaja. Imran Khakwani abused journalists and demanded of them to explain in advance what they will write in their newspaper stories the next day.
PTI leaders said: “Faisal Khawaja is a PTI member and a show-cause notice had been issued to him, and if his explanation is found unsatisfactory, then he will be suspended from the party.” It was decided that Mr Tariq Mahmood and Mr Imran Khakwani will be barred from taking part in any PTI UK event. PTI leaders assured that Mr Khakwani and Mr Mahmood will be notified in writing about this and action will be taken against them if they don’t comply.
A joint statement said: “PTI UK completely distances itself from these individuals involved in the abuse of respected journalists. We are deeply saddened and sorry to acknowledge that these individuals have damaged PTI’s reputation, its relations with media, and PTI UK condemns such actions in strongest terms. PTI UK will appoint a media focal person who will coordinate with media for all PTI UK future events. Media members agreed that they will accept invitations for PTI related official events only from the media focal person.
Newspapers industry problems
Principal Information Officer (PIO), Rao Tehsin Ali Khan said the government was aware of the problems being faced by the newspaper industry; therefore, measures were being taken to resolve those issues.
The News on June 6 reported that while addressing the Executive Committee meeting of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), he urged print media owners to pay outstanding dues of workers during the month of Ramazan-ul-Mubarak so that they could contribute in nation building diligently. He said that the government was also working on the mechanism of implementation of wage board.
Executive Committee ensured the PIO that the issues related to payment of workers would be settled very soon.
Govt agrees to withdraw proposed sales tax on newspapers
APNS expressed gratitude to the government for accepting proposals put forward by the media industry before the budget.
Umer Mujib Shami, the APNS Secretary General, said the body’s executive committee, which met under the chairmanship of its President Sarmad Ali, briefed about a meeting of the APNS and PBA held with the federal finance minister. The meeting examined proposals given by the media industry for the new budget.
Dawn, The News, Daily Dunya, Ibrat, and Nawa-e-Waqt on June 7 reported that Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar and Adviser to Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar considered the proposals and agreed to withdraw the proposed sales tax on newspapers, not to enhance the custom duty on import of newsprint for APNS member publications and to fix the withholding tax for media industry at 1.5 percent under the FTR regime.
Advertisements dues of newspapers
Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh for Information & Archives, Moula Bux Chandio ordered payment of all outstanding advertisement dues to the newspapers.
According to Regional Times, Business Recorder, and Nawa-e-Waq, the minister said that the rules and regulations should be followed for issuing advertisements to the newspapers. He also said the advertisements would be released on merit basis, and for this purpose, a transparent mechanism would be devised.
The advisor issued this order during his visit to the office of Director Press Information Zeenat Jehan on June 6. He was briefed in detail by Director Information Advertisement Yasmeen Memon regarding Advertisement and Publication Section.
PEMRA assures to raise awareness about heart diseases
PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam on June 10 assured that the authority would play its due role in creating awareness among public on heart diseases.
According to a news carried by Jang on June 11, Alam was talking to a delegation of Pakistan National Heart Association (PNHA) led by its President Maj Gen (R) Masood-ur-Rehman Kiani at PEMRA headquarters.
The PNHA delegation appealed to PEMRA to support PNHA’s cause and require the TV channels, FM radio stations, and cable TV license holders to raise public awareness about heart diseases in their programmes and news to save precious lives of people.
Regional Times, Nawa-e-Waqt, Daily Pakistan, and Amn newspapers carried news on June 9 that Shahid Raza Rizvi, Chief Editor of Nida-e-Mariyam magazine passed away due to cardiac arrest on June 7.