PML-N moves Senate to stop Pemra pressure on Geo -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PML-N moves Senate to stop Pemra pressure on Geo

Ahmad Noorani

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) moved an adjournment motion in the Senate on Saturday against the illegal and unconstitutional role of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) in punishing Geo Super by not controlling the strike of cable operators on the day of the crucial match of Pakistan and Australia on March 19 and thus depriving the people of their basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

Senior PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid, while talking to The News, said that he had moved this adjournment motion and his party will try its level best on March 29 that the motion is admitted for discussion so that this most important issue of constitutional rights of the people of the country and freedom of media and independence of press could be highlighted.

Pervaiz Rashid said that he has apprehensions that the federal government can put the Geo Super off-air on the occasion of critical Pakistan-India cricket match. He said that it was very unfortunate that even in present times the government was using such dirty tactics to twist the arm of the media.

He said if people wanted to see any cricket match of the World Cup on Geo Super what is the problem with government, Pemra or the cable operators.

Pervaiz said that it was part of his belief that in a democratic country media should be strong enough to question the wrongdoings of the mighty and powerful rulers. “But, it is unfortunate that when media performs its duty, these rulers use state resources to damage the media which criticises and questions their misdeeds,” he added.

Pervaiz Rashid said that appointment of the Pemra chairman should be made transparent by following the same procedure as is followed for appointments of chiefs of other important national institutions like NAB. He said Pakistan will not move forward even an inch if governments continued arm twisting of the media in this fashion as independence of the media is essential to progress and development of any nation.

It is worth mentioning here that former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s government had used state machinery and force to influence the cable operators to disturb or freeze Geo TV’s signal, to constantly shuffle Geo’s channel number on cable networks across the country, and at times completely take the country’s biggest media group’s channels off air. All the three above mentioned methods adopted by Musharraf by misusing the state machinery are being deployed now by President Asif Ali Zardari through his city fellow Dr Jabbar who was appointed acting chairman of Pemra by force.

It is also important to mention here that these three tactics were being used by the regime during the movement for restoration of the judiciary. The judiciary was restored because of great sacrifices of the media, especially Geo-Jang Group, but the nation is still waiting restoration of independence of the media.

The signals of Geo Super were disrupted and frozen during all the matches of the World Cup 2011 in most of the major cities.

Now, channel numbers are being shuffled and Pemra is warming up cable operators to put Geo Super off-air. Besides, leaders of cable operators’ association as well as Pemra senior officials have come on record that everything was being done by Dr Jabbar who was directly ordering cable operators to freeze Geo Super signals and at times shut it off-air.

The cable operators privately say they are being threatened that if they do not disrupt or freeze Geo Super signals, they will face Pemra and government wrath.

According to credible Pemra sources, Dr Jabbar held important meetings with leading cable operators of KP and Balochistan in Peshawar Pemra RGM’s office on Thursday. Sources said the acting chairman forcefully got signed different statements by cable operators to present them in the Supreme Court pertaining to some published documents against Dr Jabbar’s real role in confronting the Supreme Court orders and disturbing Geo Super signals.
Source: The News
Date:3/27/2011