Secret funds: Sindh govt accused of ‘buying the media’
LAHORE: Transparency International Pakistan has disclosed that the Sindh government has used secret funds belonging to the ministry of information to “buy the media”.
In a letter to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the advisor to the watchdog, Syed Adil Gilani has said that his organisation had pleaded during the hearing on April 2 in the apex court that the former chief minister of Sindh had sanctioned the allocation of money for journalists on the advice of the federal ministry of information.
It was revealed that the provincial wing of the information ministry has been involved in ‘media handling’ to improve the image of the provincial government.
On April 23, the Supreme Court made public a list revealing part of the expenditures of an interior ministry secret fund, a major portion of which was spent on various media groups. Journalists had written to the court, protesting the inclusion of their names in the list.
On April 11, the provincial secretary information sent a summary titled ‘Media Management and Effective Media Handling’ to the chief minister Sindh.
The summary read: “After the large scale expansion of the media in the form of TV channels and FM stations, it has become extremely necessary for the information ministry to play its role at every stage to handle the media i.e. from reporters and cameramen to bureau chiefs. Maintaining close contacts with news-directors and the newspaper directors is also necessary…Enough funds will be required for these purposes.”
Similarly, on 28 July, the watchdog had written to the court that an independent commission should be set up to ensure that the media in the country is self-sufficient and not corrupt and dependent on the government support and kick-backs.
Source: The Express Tribune