Public funds: SC seeks list of dues payable to each media house
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred till April 23 the hearing of the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) petition against restriction on payments for public sector advertisements.
Demanding separate lists of all dues of individual organisations, the divisional bench of the apex court ordered that the court should be informed of the system and agreement under which the advertisements were issued.
Heading the bench, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that the court had earlier heard the case concerning advertisements and knew about the procedure of issuance of public sector advertisements. He added that it was a simple case and only required knowing the amounts due to each media group.
Counsel for APNS, Tariq Suhail, argued that the court order has caused delay in the payments of the salaries of the employees. He said that there were 362 members of the APNS and 69 members of the PBA. A representative of the information ministry told the court that 1,837 newspapers were registered with the Information Department. The court expressed surprise over the figures and asked for confirmation whether the number was of newspapers published in the country only.
Justice Khawaja said that all the media groups involved in the case are established organisations and the court order issued two weeks back should not affect the payment of salaries of their employees. He noted that since the matter pertained to public funds, it was necessary to follow proper procedure. Justice Khilji Arif ordered that if an ineligible organisation was awarded advertisements, the relevant record should be mentioned.
Earlier, counsel for the information ministry objected to a talk show on Express News in which senior journalists Hamid Mir and Absar Alam, discussed the case with the host of the show Javed Chaudhry.
The counsel, Raja Aamir, told the court that he had been personally threatened in the case and presented CDs of the show to the court. Justice Khawaja advised Aamir to file a separate application and noted that a hearing would be held in open court.
Source: The Express Tribune