PPF Weekly Content Monitoring Report 22-28 August
MQM workers attack media houses in Karachi
Violent protesters of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) attacked two media houses – ARY News and Neo News – in Karachi, injuring three media workers.
A Samaa TV DSNG van was also attacked, while a police van and a traffic police official’s motorcyle were reportedly set on fire.
The violence occurred shortly after MQM chief Altaf Hussain in his telephonic address scolded the media for not giving due coverage to the party’s hunger strike outside Karachi Press Club and directed the party workers to surround the offices of Geo News, Samaa, and ARY News TV channels.
Cameramen of three news channels, including Muhammad Safeer of Samaa, Rehan Ahmed of Neo News and Usman Sharif of Channel 24 were injured in the attack. They were rushed to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for treatment.
The police claimed to have arrested 42 suspects including 39 males and three women associated with the MQM. The arrested workers and leaders were Kanwar Naveed Jamil, Shahid Pasha, Qamar Mansoor, Union Council 22 chairman Asif, Joint In-charge of MQM’s women wing Rabia Bibi, party’s Burns Road sector member Sumaira Bibi and several others.
The incident was widely covered by different newspapers and TV channels. Dawn, Business Recorder, Express Tribune, Jang, Roznama Express, and The Nation mentioned the names of the channels, whereas Amn newspaper did not mention the names of the channels. Except Dawn, all other newspapers did not mention the names of all three cameramen.
The News channels also aired headlines, tickers, breaking news and programmes on the attack. On August 22, TV channels, including Samaa, News One, Dawn, Capital TV, Jaag News, Khyber News, Aaj News, Abb Takk, and 92 News, did not mention the names of attacked channels. However, ARY News, Dunya News and Neo News mentioned the names of channels, while Express News and Geo News mentioned the names only in their programmes but not in tickers and breaking news.
Different newspapers, including Dawn, Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Balochistan Express, Regional Times, Jang, Roznama Pakistan, Dunya, Intekhab, Roznama Express, Amn, and Nawa-i-Waqt also published condemnation news by different politicians, social activists, religious scholars, and media organizations.
Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) strongly condemned the attack and ordered immediate arrest and punishment to those involved in the attack on media houses on August 22. Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) termed the attack as dangerous threat to freedom of expression.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack and termed it “an attack on freedom of press and expression”. Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah visited the offices of ARY News and Samaa TV and criticized the attack.
Other political leaders, including Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Chief Minister Balochishtan Sanaullah Zehri, members of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, opposition leader Khursheed Shah and religious scholars also denounced the attack.
Journalists community and different media bodies, including Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Sanghar Press Club, Rohri Press Club, Hyderabad Press Club and Hyderabad Union of Journalist staged protest demonstrations against Altaf Hussain and MQM workers.
PEMRA fines TV channels for airing false news
PEMRA Council of Complaints (COC) imposed a fine of Rs 500,000 on each TV channel for airing fake news about Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s third marriage.
The fined channels include Dunya News, Geo News, Neo News, Royal News, Khyber News, Channel 24, Channel 92, NewsOne, Such TV, Roze News, Channel 5, and Geo Tez.
ARY News and Express News on August 27 aired tickers, while Express Tribune, Dawn, Business Recorder, The Nation, the News, Jang, Qaumi Akhbar and Amn on August 28 reported that Shamim Humayun presided over the final hearing of the case at PEMRA head office. She also announced that each channel should also telecast an apology.
The PEMRA notification says: “The complainant only wanted action against Dunya News channel, but PEMRA recommended to impose fine on all channels who aired the wrong news.”
The Nation’s news report did not contain complete facts relevant to the story as it did not mention the names of the channels, while other newspapers mentioned the names of all channels.
Senate terms ban on Masood’s show against PEMRA’s code of conduct
The Senate Standing Committee of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage called the ban on Dr. Shahid Masood’s programme against PEMRA’s code of conduct.
Ary News and Samaa TV aired breaking news and tickers on August 22, while The Nation, Jang and Amn on August 23 reported that Senate Committee chairman Senator Kamal Ali Agha had taken suo moto notice of the ban and said, “Authority cannot impose ban on any anchor or programme without hearing him.”
PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam in his reply stated that during Ramazan, PEMRA had taken action against GEO and AAJ TV and barred the programmes of two senior anchors because they violated PEMRA’s code of conduct. He further added that Dr. Shahid Masood also raised unjustified accusations against Chief Justice Sindh after the kidnapping of his son Awais Shah.
PEMRA chief accepts to have faced pressure
PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam has recommended the beginning of a process to regulate the appointment of television anchors, regretting that some anchors are mocking the Constitution of Pakistan.
Dawn and The News on August 27 reported that Absar Alam hosted a luncheon for media persons on August 26. While talking to them, he conceded to have faced difficulty in banning certain television channels, but he resisted the pressure. He further said, “We are keen to see a responsible electronic media in Pakistan and are working to achieve this objective.”
Steps taken for journalists’ safety
A parliamentary panel discussed the basic necessities to provide safety to journalists and media workers, especially those working in conflict areas.
Express Tribune, Balochistan Express, Jang and Amn on August 27 reported that the session of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage was held under the chairmanship of Aslam Bodla at the Parliament House in which the members condemned Quetta incident and Karachi media houses attack.
The panel also discussed the implementation status of the recommendations made by special committee to examine threats to journalists and media workers in its report. Nasir Jamal, the director general of the information ministry presented the major outcomes and recommendations of the special committee.
Other Media Related News
Petition filed in Supreme Court to ban Altaf Hussain’s speech through PEMRA; Unidentified persons attacked the van of 92 News and tortured the crew members; Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid guaranteed the delegation of PFUJ that Right to Information Bill would be presented to the Federal Cabinet for approval; All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) delegation, led by its President Sarmad Ali, called on Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and discussed the problems faced by APNS; After 2.5 years, PFUJ elections held on August 27 in Peshawar; Provincial Assembly of Balochistan’s officials said that the reporter of a private TV channel had submitted a written apology to Speaker Balochistan, Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani, for airing a baseless and false news; SSP Syed Imdad Shah visited Sujawal Press Club on August 23, where he guaranteed the local journalists of his full support; Five lacs will be given as compensation to injured journalists of Quetta incident; Senior journalist Ayub Rajput passed away; Roznama Express’ Editor Mohammad Aslam and Senior Sub Editor Riaz Shahid sustained injuries in a road accident near Power House Chowrangi in North Karachi on August 23.
During the week, PPF monitored 239 news, tickers, headlines, and programs related to Pakistani media that were covered in the following television channels – 92 News, Aaj News, Abb Takk, ARY News, Capital TV, Dawn News, Dunya News, Express News, Geo News, Jaag News, Khyber News, KTN, Neo News, News One, Samaa, and TV One.
There were 108 news stories, editorials, articles and photographs published in 16 daily English and Urdu language newspapers that include Dawn, The News, The Nation, Express Tribune, Business Recorder, Pakistan Today, Regional Times, Jang, Dunya, Roznama Express, Nawa-i-Waqt, Pakistan, Intikhab, Quami Akhbar, Amn, and Roznama Pakistan.