PPF Weekly Content Monitoring Report from October 17-23 -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PPF Weekly Content Monitoring Report from October 17-23

Pakistan Press Foundation

PEMRA imposed blanket ban on Indian content

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Absar Alam said that an application has been sent to the federal government for a total ban on Indian content. Pakistan Today reported on 19 October.

PEMRA has imposed a ban and shall cancel license without a show-cause notice followed by the consent of federal government.

PEMRA in its crackdown against Indian Direct to Home (DTH) has taken action against 39 cable operators and seized 161 broadcasting accessories. During the operation PEMRA raided 124 cable operators, reported daily Jang on 17 October.The income generated from illegal possession and usage of DTH equipment is approximately 36 billion of which more than 18 billion is earned by DTH companies. The rest is pocketed by the Pakistani partners of the DTH set-up. These earnings do not pass through the FBR and are tax-free.

The story was reported by ARY News, Dawn News Samaa and Jaag News aired tickers and breaking news on October 19 and Aaj News on October 20 aired tickers and breaking news while Pakistan Today, Business Recorder, The News, The Express Tribune, Dawn, The Nation and Roznama Express on October 20.

Another story covered by Balochistan Express and daily Jang on October 23 reported that during the operation PEMRA teams had seized illegal Indian DTH and C-Line throughout the country. PEMRA issued a statement which says, the authority’s inspection teams seized 1,762 accessories which were being used in the illegal business.

In other stories reported by The News and Jang on October 18, PEMRA teams raided various cable TV operators’ offices and seized 64 receivers, two dish TV decoders, five C-line receivers, six transmitters, 15 CPU, two dish TV cards and five DVDs in Sindh that were used for distributing banned channels.

PEMRA took action in Jamshoro, Sehwan and Sialkot, Muzaffargarh, Chakwal, Narowal and Attock. Authority officials seized equipment of the cable operators showing Indian content and cancelled licenses of at least four operators for violation the rules and regulations.

PEMRA is scrutinizing the applications it received for DTH license. PEMRA has shortlisted 9 companies from the 16 applications it has received previously since 2015. The news was reported in The Nation, The Express Tribune on October 21.

 First step of crackdown against Indian content completed

Addressing a press conference on October 18 PEMRA Chairman, Alam said “We have written a letter to Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) to streamline the process so that only those channels that have approval for landing rights from PEMRA can use their platform”. He further added that the first step of banning Indian channels and content has been completed successfully and only 2-3 channels out of total 120 channels were supposed to have violated the rules.

During the 120th meeting presided by PEMRA Chairman, Alam, all radio and TV channels are to follow the new code of conduct with effect from 3pm on October 21, 2016. TV channels and radio stations failing to do will face repercussions which include cancellation of license without any show-cause notice.

 Slapping of a female anchorperson

Following the incident of slapping anchorperson Saima Kanwal was widely covered and condemned in the Pakistani media.  The journalist worked with K-21 television channel. The Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel not only stopped her from coverage inside the NADRA office premises but also denied her coverage outside the premises that eventually causing a brawl. The guard slapped the journalist and fired in the air to dispel the crowd.

The police have registered two cases against both parties which include NADRA Assistant Director Niaz Hussain Awan and the FC man Hassan Abbas and others and Saima Kanwal as well.

The Karachi Union of Journalists has demanded stern action should be taken against the people involved in the incident. 92 News, Capital TV, Dunya News, Geo News, Neo News, Aaj News aired tickers, detailed news, breaking news on October 21 and 22 while Roznama Express, Amn and RoznamaDunyaon October 21 reported the story.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered an inquiry of the incident, reported 92 News, AbbTakk, Jaag News, Neo News aired breaking news and tickers on October 21 while Business Recorder, Dawn, The Nation, The Express Tribune, Pakistan Today and Intekhab on October 22 covered the story.

Police recorded statements anchorperson Saima Kanwal and employees of NADRA in the slapping incident by Frontier Constabulary guard and have also asked for evidences from both the parties. On October 22, police had also registered a case against anchorperson on complaints of NADRA for creating obstacles in the official work. The story was covered by Business Recorder on October 23.

In other stories it was reported that a local court of Karachi accepted pre-arrest bail with 50,000 surety of Hassan. Capital TV, Dunya News and Dawn News on October 22 aired breaking news, headlines and tickers while Qaumi Akhbar, Roznama Express, Roznama Jang, Roznama Dunya, Roznama Pakistan on October 23.According to reports both parties mutually settled the issue and withdraw the cases.

 Inquiry of story published in Dawn

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed the matter of inquiry in the case of story on national security published in daily Dawn.

Three newspapers including Roznama Jang, Roznama Dunya and Nawa-i-Waqt on October 19 reported the news of the meeting.

The Opposition leader in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said, there are five persons involved behind the story. Pervaiz Rasheed, Ishaq Dar, Chaudhry Nisar, Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif decided to feed this story. Jaag News and NEO News on October 18 while Roznama Dunya and Roznama Express on October 19 reported this story.

The News on October 21 published an article with the title “Thank you, Cyril” written by Ayaz Amir (a prominent Pakistani journalist, columnist and a senior politician). According to the author, Cyril’s article has put the government in a difficult position. The shutdown of Islamabad city propounded by Imran Khan, the Panama gate and the story has formed a triad which the government will find very difficult to get out of.

 Right to Information Bill

Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) and Rawalpindi Bar Association jointly organized a seminar which was attended by lawyers, media persons and civil society. Lawyers and civil society call for a protest if the Federal Right to Information (RTI) Law is not presented in the National Assembly for approval within three months.

While speaking at the seminar Senator Farhatullah Babar said “The considerations of so-called national security as defined by the security establishment is the single most formidable impediment in the way of freedom of expression and the right to information”.

Information Minister Parvez Rashid said, “The implementation of the RTI law was the right of the people and the government would fulfill its responsibility.”

The story was covered by The News, The Nation and The Express Tribune on October 19.

In other news story Coalition on Right to Information (CRTI) proposed to the government to work on the RTI bill and make amendments. The current bill looks like the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 which facilitated the government into hiding information more than it helped people in accessing it. CRTI also stressed on having access to information as an important component of RTI. The news was reported in daily Jang on October 20.

 Parliamentary panel decides to summon TV channel owners

Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage met under the chairmanship of Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla on October 18. The committee discussed and expressed serious concerns over the matter of airing baseless and false allegations against public office holders and members of the parliament on TV channels. Committee members also observed that PEMRA should have taken strict action against anchorpersons and TV channels over broadcasting such immoral allegations and disrespecting the elected representatives. Panel decided to summon owners, anchorpersons. Business Recorder reported the event on October 19.

 PTV attack case

The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has issued arrest warrants of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Tahir-ul-Qadri including 70 other people on the charges of attacking Pakistan Television (PTV) building and parliament on August 31st, 2014. Business Recorder, The Express Tribune and Pakistan Today on October 22 and Balochistan Express on 23 October, reported that the court granted six suspects exemption from personal appearance in the court.

Media houses attack case

ATC has issued non-bail-able warrants of MQM Chief, Farooq Sattar and 30 other workers in the media house attack case on August 22. Reported by ARY News, Express News, Samaa aired tickers on October 17 and Amn, Nawa-i-Waqt, Intekhab on October 18.

None of the monitored channels including ARY and newspapers covering the story has mentioned the names of attacked channels.

Zia-Uddin alias Pahari told his investigating officers that he was not involved in the attack on a private channel on 22nd August. He was supposed to take buses full of supporters to a proposed rally on the orders of Mustafa Azizabadi. Sector Incharge Nasreen Baji was involved in causing damage at the premises of the TV channel along with Fauzia, Ghazala, Nausheen, Naureen and Sughra Baji.  The news was reported in daily Nawa-i-Waqt on October 22.

IHC dismissed petition of ARY CEO

Daily The News and daily Jang on October 18 reported that Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had dismissed the petition of ARY CEO Salman Iqbal because court called him twice but neither he nor his counsel appeared before the court after which Salman Iqbal’s arrest warrants were restored. While in the second round of case, Salman Iqbal has challenged his arrest warrants by a district court of Islamabad in the matter where Independent Media Corporations Limited (IMCL) has filed a case against ARY under criminal procedure for making false allegations against Jang/Geo Group.

The news of ARY CEO arrest warrants was only published by daily Jang and The News.

Britain’s Ofcom to investigate against ARY News

The News on October 23 reported that Britain’s media regulator Ofcom has started investigation against ARY News for telecasting maligning and hate campaign in their program “Sawal Yeh Hai” against Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai and her father Ziauddin Yousuf zai.The channel invited guests in their program and made allegations against Malala during the discussion on her book titled “I am Malala”.

During the week PPF monitored 112 news, tickers, headlines and programs related to Pakistani media that were covered in the following television channels – 92 News, Aaj News, AbbTakk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya News, Express News, Geo News, Jaag News, Neo News, News One, Samaa and TV One.

There were 87 news items, editorials published in English and Urdu dailies of Pakistan that include Dawn, The News, The Nation, The Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Jang, Dunya, Roznama Express, Nawa-i-Waqt, Intikhab, QuamiAkhbar, Amn, Roznama Pakistan.

In the monitored news items from television the gender of spokesperson in 52 stories was male, 18 females while in 42 stories the gender was not mentioned.