Marriyum lashes out at PTI for undue favors to ARY | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Marriyum lashes out at PTI for undue favors to ARY

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Informational Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has lashed out at PTI government for allegedly giving undue favors to private television channel ARY.

Responding to a tweet by Fawad Chaudhry, senior PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, Marriyum termed PTV’s deal with ARY as illegal.

PTV had formed a consortium with private channel ARY to get broadcasting rights for PSL7 and PSL8, a move that is already challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC). “Result of the original bid was that ARY came 2nd. PTV illegally negotiated with ARY, asked to improve the bid & when that failed, changed the marking criteria to make sure ARY won. Later, the contract signed by ARY was different from the bid. This was fraud, pure and simple. Stay tuned,” Marriyum wrote while responding to Chaudhry’s tweet.

It is worth mentioning here that only a day before, Pakistan Television Corporation had acknowledged before the honourable Lahore High Court that the agreement for the cricket broadcasting rights signed between the state-run television corporation and the private media group ARY was in gross violation of PTV rules and SOPs and the broadcast deal was awarded to ARY against the principles of transparency.

The counsel representing PTV who appeared before the two members’ bench of LHC admitted that there were many irregularities in the agreement signed between the state run TV channel and private media group ARY regarding the allotment of broadcasting rights. The lawyer representing PTV sought some time to present all the relevant documents before the honourable court in the next hearing.

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court was hearing appeals of Blitz and Geo Super against the verdict of the single bench. PTV’s lawyer informed the honourable judges that the agreement reveals certain clauses to favour ARY were added in agreement without informing PTV Board and taking approval from BODs. The evaluation criteria to award cricket broadcasting rights was changed by PTV management. Furthermore, the cost and revenue sharing to favour ARY were changed in PSL 7 & 8 which caused a huge financial loss to PTV and provided undue benefit to ARY. The sports agreement was completely changed without the approval of the PTV Board.

The revelation by PTV’s counsel in court points finger towards the alleged nexus between the previous government headed by PTV and ARY group. Senior PMLN leader Marium Nawaz on multiple occasions has alleged that ARY was provided undue favors by the former PM Imran Khan.

The Transparency International (TI) had highlighted several irregularities and pointed out the issues which clearly violate the PPRA rules. However, the cricket board has ignored these points and awarded the broadcasting rights to PTV-ARY consortium.

Meanwhile, the new government constituted a fact-finding committee to ascertain the irregularities in the awarding of PSL broadcasting rights contract to PTV-ARY consortium. The committee found that a media group ARY was unduly helped and facilitated to create ‘A Sports’ channel.

According to the committee’s findings billions of rupees loss of revenue incurred to PTV due to unauthorised broadcast rights given to ‘A Sports’ for T20 ICC World cup & PSL by PTV management without the approval from PTV board.

The committee observed that the agreement between ARY and PTV was not as per the directions and several clauses were added later to favour ARY which were beyond the scope and approval given by the PTV board and also violated and flouted the PPRA and Public Private partnership rules. The committee has recommended the matter to be referred to the FIA for further investigation and to fix responsibility.

Source: The News

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