PTV confirms story but calls it baseless
ISLAMABAD: In response to The News story ‘PTV in secret talks for $45 million deal’ published on Monday (October 17), PTV issued a press release which confirms basic information in the story that the state-run TV channel is heading for deal, but termed the story as malicious.
A press release of PTV says The News story is malicious, baseless and entirely fabricated. The spokesperson also stated it was most unfortunate that a leading media group of the country would act in such irresponsible manner by entirely misrepresenting facts, and misleading the people of Pakistan by fabricating the truth for the mere sake of their own interest in this as Jang Group/Geo Group is one of the bidders as is PTV to procure the ICC rights.
The spokesperson said after the conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2010, PTV was pursuing the acquisition of the ICC Cricket Rights for the next four years which lie with ESPN which is the global ICC cricket rights holder.
PTV entered in negotiations with Ten Sports only after having apprised and having gained the approval of PTV Board of Directors, which is chaired by the federal secretary for information and broadcasting, and includes Major General Athar Abbas, ISPR DG, Rana Asad Amin, Additional Secretary/Special Secretary Budget Ministry of Finance, Ikramullah Mehsud, Additional Secretary Admin Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ghulam Murtaza Solangi, DG PBC, and Professor Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University. The spokesperson referred to the article as having unsubstantiated evidence intending only to malign the national broadcaster in its genuine attempt to provide top quality sports events to the millions of ardent cricket loving fans and the sports loving public of Pakistan.
The spokesperson also termed this action on the part of Geo Networks and Jang Group as ‘acts of frustration’ and as anxious and desperate measures emanating from their innate fear of losing the ICC rights bid to PTV because Jang Group is also the contender to secure the rights and only reacting in fear of losing the bid and using its own media as a ‘dirty trick’.
The spokesperson also clarified that neither there is any secret deal nor is there any question of bringing Zee TV or any Indian channel to Pakistan whereas Ten Sports already holds the landing rights and has a licensee of Pemra. The spokesperson added that Geo Networks has itself been the biggest proponent of Indian content and leaves no stone unturned to air all sorts of Indian Award Shows including the Zee Cine Awards, movie shows, airing of Indian films on a weekly basis, drama and other entertainment, and continues to partner The Times of India in its campaign ‘Aman Ki Aasha’ for the last so many years. The spokesperson also added that PTV reserved the right to take any legal course of action it deemed fit to counter these baseless accusations.
Ahmad Noorani adds: PTV has confirmed The News story that it is heading forward to strike a secret deal with the Indian Zee-owned channel Ten Sports in a situation when Indian channels are banned in Pakistan and Pakistani channels are banned in India. The clarification, however, did not clarify that PTV board gave approval for what? Whether ISPR DG Major General Athar Abbas and other PTV board members were aware that Ten Sports is owned by the Indian Zee channel now. It was also not clarified that whether PTV board approved PTV’s joint venture with Ten Sports of Indian Zee. It is important as PTV chairman in his statement to The News has said that according to his information Ten Sports channel was owned by UAE’s Abdul Rehman Bukhatir. However, readers can visit the official website of Ten Sports (www.tensports.com) to verify the fact that Ten Sports is owned by Bukhatir or Zee. The News stands by its story.
Source: The News