CCP raids PBA office, confiscates record
Islamabad: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Tuesday raided the office of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) located at Karachi and confiscated relevant record to investigate alleged cartelization among media houses. Sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that a team of 6 to 7 officials of the CCP from Islamabad reached Karachi to conduct search and inspection of the PBA office.
The relevant record – both the manual and computerised record – has been impounded for further investigation. The CCP has started inquiry into the said case and the record recovered would be examined by the commission. Last month, the CCP had informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that it had initiated investigation against an association of media houses suspected to be involved in management of members’ advertisement business, reflecting a possible collusion among media houses. During the presentation before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, CCP Chairman Dr Joseph Wilson said formal inquiries under section 37 of the Competition Act have been initiated against 4 sectors.
Firstly, an association of automobile dealers is suspected of fixing prices of repair and paint jobs. Secondly, an association of media houses is suspected of managing members’ advertisement business. Thirdly, poultry feed manufacturers are suspected of fixing prices. Fourthly, the cement manufacturers are suspected of collectively fixing prices.
The committee members inquired about the names of the media houses, but the CCP officials said that it would not be appropriate to disclose details in the presence of media in the committee. When the committee members insisted of sharing details of the media case, Mueen Batlay, CCP Member Competition Policy, Research, Cartels and Trade Abuses stated that they are carrying out an investigation into a case of media houses. An association of media houses has been suspected of carrying out in management of members’ advertisement business. If there is an understanding among the media houses to collectively set advertising rates, then there would be no competition in the market. It is a case of suspected collusion and the CCP is examining it threadbare. He added that the case is at an initial stage and investigation is under way. It is a case relating to fiscal year 2013-14.