PTV-ARY consortium: PTV lawyer concedes irregularities in PSL broadcast rights deal -
Pakistan Press Foundation

PTV-ARY consortium: PTV lawyer concedes irregularities in PSL broadcast rights deal

Pakistan Press Foundation

LAHORE: The Pakistan Television Corporation has acknowledged before the Lahore High Court that the agreement for the broadcasting rights of PSL-VII signed between the state-run television corporation and private media group ARY was in violation of rules and against the principles of transparency.

The counsel for the PTV, who appeared before the two-member bench of the Lahore High Court, 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 of Pakistan Super League (PSL). The lawyer representing the PTV sought time to present all the relevant documents before the court in the next hearing.

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court heard the appeals of Blitz and Geo Super against the verdict of the single bench. Lawyer for the PTV Faisal Naqvi said after going through the record of the agreement, a different picture had emerged. He said that the scheme of evaluation for awarding the contract had been completely changed whereas the rules for broadcasting rights had not been complied with. He said that he would present all the evidence and documents before the court during the next hearing. He said he wanted counsel for ARY Aitzaz Ahsan to review the documents before the next hearing.

Naqvi said that he would file a reply and documents before the next hearing and would provide a copy in advance to Aitzaz Ahsan and Pakistan Cricket Board’slawyer. ARY lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said that all this was happening due to the change in the government. “That is why the lawyer of the state-run TV has changed his position.” Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi, who presided over the two-member bench, said that they had a verdict of the single bench in front of them and they had to look into the legal status of the single bench’s verdict.

The court directed the PTV counsel to file the documents and adjourned the hearing until June 20. Advocate Behzad Haider appeared on behalf of Geo Super and Blitz.

It is important to note that Transparency International had highlighted several irregularities and pointed out issues which clearly violated the PPRA rules. However, the cricket board had ignored these points and awarded the broadcasting rights to PTV-ARY consortium.

Later, the new government constituted a fact-finding committee to ascertain the irregularities in awarding the PSL Broadcasting rights contract to the PTV-ARY consortium. The committee found that media group ARY was unduly helped and facilitated to create a sports channel. According to the committee’s findings, a loss of billions of rupees had incurred to PTV owing to unauthorised broadcast rights given to A Sports for T-20 ICC World Cup and PSL by the PTV management without the board approval.

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

Source: The News

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