‘PEMRA Used Illegal Tactics To Support Malik Riaz’s TV Channel’
KARACHI: Without any prior approval from the government’s investigation agencies, including Ministry of Interior, how come a regulator like Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued the so-called licence to a TV channel like ‘BOL News’ owned by Malik Riaz Hussain, said Mukhtar Ahmed Butt, a senior political analyst.
At a programme ‘Focus on News’ of ‘Business Plus’ on Monday, he informed the viewers that before issuing a licence of a TV channel, PEMRA has to get security clearance from all the government agencies like ISI, Military Intelligence, Ministry of Interior, police and others agencies.
He said the Ministry of Interior has issued a letter in which it was clearly mentioned that BOL TV channel is on ‘security waiting’ and it does not mean, it has given any clearance. Ministry of Interior did not issue any clearance to this TV channel.
Business Plus arranged this programme on Daily Times news and a petition filed by Agha Shahid Rasheed, who has challenged the licence of BOL News own by Malik Riaz in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Earlier, PEMRA had announced its decision, saying no irregularity had been committed while transferring the licence of BOL News, formally Jinnah TV owned by a company of Asia News Network (Pvt) Ltd owned by property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain.
He said how could a regulator issue a licence without any documentations of a TV channel.
The persons in the programme also said that those government agencies that have given clearance to this TV channel should also be questioned.
The PEMRA should display No Objection Certificate (NOC) of the government agencies in the court, he said, adding that all government agencies should be investigated on this issue. They have not issued any clearance or NOC for this TV Channel. The SC should also conduct an inquiry of this case from any retired judge of the high courts or SC.
Anchorpersons of the programme were of the view that small dictators are sitting on high positions of our institutions and big fishes like Malik Riaz are controlling these dictators. These dictators make the law of the institutions and they do not follow the institutions’ law.
Butt, replying a question said that CEOs or the heads of any institutions could change the law as per the requirement of influential persons. These officials had direct link with the government officials and the parliamentarians.
“This is a serious violation of PEMRA rules and it should review rules and regulations of the PEMRA,” Butt said. The PEMRA is the highest body for regulating the TV channels and other broadcastings and if there is a problem in conducting such things then where will the poor people lodge complaints.
A senior journalist Aga Masood said that PEMRA should be re-organised after this BOL News’ licence scandal. He said that America is going from Afghanistan in 2014 and if we did not stop such irregularities in the country, it could create many problems in South Asian countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Raja Riaz, head of the investigation team of Media Times Limited said that it is a serious irregularity in the BOL News licence and government should reconsider it. Every Pakistani has the right to get licence but the PEMRA has the right to get all documentations.
Earlier, he said PEMRA has approved the change of name of a company of Malik Riaz and later it had issued licence of a TV channel on this name. He said, “No clearance was given in the Ministry of Interior’s letter dated July 4, 2013 to Labbaik’s management.”
The authority had issued Malik Riaz a licence on January 23, 2008, sending a letter that stated, ‘…hereby grants a non-exclusive licence to Asia News Network (Pvt) Ltd (hereinafter referred to as the licensee) to establish and operate an International Scale Satellite Television Broadcast Channel Station by uplinking from within Pakistan’.