The calculated leak of Abbottabad Commission Report through Aljazeera has clouded another explosive report of Media Commission. This report contains revelations by the media regulator, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and observations of the Commission. As expected by those closely watching and monitoring the contents of one media house, it was revealed that its Channel GeoNews receives foreign funding for its various programs. In its version before the Commission, PEMRA informed that a couple of media houses receive large grants in the form of advertising contracts from overseas sources; one such grant is 20 million British pounds. Some part of this amount may be for paid advertising or sponsorship of a program.
The actual facts are still under the wraps as the said channel is perceived to be very powerful and exercises strong clout in the Establishment which in today?s Pakistan is the Supreme Court. Almost every news items becomes a subject of suo moto notice by Iftikhar Chaudhary Court. This channel and some of its anchors are known for spitting venom against the State of Pakistan and are working overtime in undermining the security apparatus when the armed forces are busy fighting India-funded insurgency in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi.
Why PEMRA is afraid to take any action against the said channel?
According to the Report, all or part of this amount is received by an entity which is part of the media group and is used to sponsor non-advertising campaigns. Any attempt by PEMRA to probe such matters immediately leads to claims that there is an attempt to curb freedom of the media and there is always the recourse to obtaining a stay order if an inquiry is held.
PEMRA knows fully well who will win the case if it lands in the Supreme Court.
Specifically identifying the programs which received funds from foreign sources, the official statement of the Regulator before the Media Commission alleged that Zara Socheeya had received sponsorship to the tune of Pounds 20 Million. Citing another instance of Aman ki Asha the PEMRA officials alleged the program was being funded by Norwegian NGO named Friends without Borders. It was found by PEMRA that the footprints lead to Indian sponsors including the Indian state television, the Doordarshan.
The programs stated to have been funded by foreigners deal with contents that are, prima facie, harmless. For instance, who would object to peace with India and people-to-people relations that the media group is promoting? The Regulator, however, failed to identify that the Indian funding is actually and indirectly meant for those programs which have launched sustained campaign against Pakistan armed forces and security establishment. The armed forces are engaged in a fierce battle against Indian proxies in Balochistan and FATA and also in Karachi. Running anti-army programs by this channel at the moment is like stabbing Pakistan in the back and weakening the resolve of armed forces to fight. The flagship program, Capital Talk, is used for maligning the ISI and security establishment and pressuring the apex court to distract the security establishment through humiliation and indictment.
Courtesy: Pakistan Express