Our petition seeks media accountability: Hamid Mir, Absar Alam

Published: July 31, 2012

Say they want to restore Pakistani media's credibility. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Everyone should know what is the source of income of Pakistani journalists, TV anchors, media house owners and advertising agencies, said Hamid Mir on Tuesday.

Speaking to media outside the Supreme Court of Pakistan, senior journalist Mir and Absar Alam elaborated about the petition they had filed seeking formation of an accountability commission for the media.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan also issued notices on Tuesday to all media houses owners, advertising agencies, Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz for August 27.

Commenting on media losing its credibility, Mir said that they have presented themselves for accountability because they wanted to restore media’s integrity and make sure those responsible for this are held responsible.

Meanwhile, Alam stated that media can bring positive change in the society, but it can only do so if its own way of working is correct. “We want to improve our performance through accountability,” he emphasised. “The culprits among us should be brought to justice,” he argued.

Mir mentioned secret funds of various ministries which are used to manipulate the media. He has asked the court to make the details of such funds public. He said that they have records that can prove that the petition is not filed against anyone specific but to prevent future corruption of media with billions of rupees.

“We have also asked the court to investigate how government gives undue favours to some media organisations through advertisements and that is why we have included advertising agencies in our petition,” Mir said.

Reiterating that the petition is not targeting a single journalist or media organisation, Mir said the petition only seeks accountability to restore the credibility of Pakistani media and that they had willingly put themselves in a position to be held accountable for what they do before any one else.

“If anyone has any kind of proof against us, it should be provided in the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” Hamid said.

Alam added that the court has adjourned the hearing till August 27 and till then anyone can provide any proof they have against media personnel to the court. “A public notice will also be issued in this regard,” he said.

Commenting on how Pemra’s code of conduct is flouted by the channels, Mir lamented that no practitioner follows the guidelines nor does Pemra try to enforce it.

“We have asked for a media commission where all the stakeholders can come together and make a code of conduct,” he said.

Explaining further why they have approached the highest court, Alam said there are influential and rich people who manipulate journalists and media owners for their own goals and we want such activities to be exposed. “We want to get all this cleared up. We want to know what is done legally and what is not, everything should be brought to the table,” he said.

Mir mentioned that their petition also seeks an inquiry into Midas media company, which has a case filed against itself in an anti corruption court. “The case has been hushed up by the Punjab government,” Alam added.

Reader Comments (12)

  • Salman Zafar
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:41PM

    What about midas group mentioned in the last para… can anybody explain??Recommend

  • Imran Haider
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:43PM

    The accountability should start from Hamid Mir himself. He should be investigated for various shows over the years whose objective has been to stir sympathies among his viewers for AlQaeda and Taliban. He should be grilled why he makes statements in his shows that create pro-terrorist ambiguities. He is one of the leading TV anchors who are responsible for the decade long brainwashing of the people of Pakistan. Does any one remember the crying spectacle he conducted the day after the Lal Masjid operation was over. That particular show filled a lot of people with hatred against the Pakistan army that had conducted a just operation agianst the Lal Masjid miscreants. Let us start the media accountability from Hamid Mir, himself.Recommend

  • afzaalkhan
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @Imran Haider

    The accusation you have raised are called POV not corruption, I thought you liberals believe in freedom of speech :). He has presented himself to accountability so if you have prove he took money to propagate some POV or he is monetary corrupt then by all means go to SC otherwise stop spreading false accusations.

    P.S: Not a fan of Hamid Mir, to be polite, lets just say he exaggerate and become overtly bias on some issues.

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  • gp65
    Jul 31, 2012 - 8:56PM

    Why is it a petition in the court? The court is just supposed to interpret laws not legislate from the bench. If he feels a law is needed he needs to go to parliament. But otherwise he should simply go to PEMRA and work with them to develop guidelines related to conflict of interest.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:15PM

    Hats off to Hamid Mir and Absar Alam. There should be total accountability including those of Journalist and Media.

    Let peopel know the truth about all

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  • Affected
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Noora Kushti , firing gun using the Court as cover

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  • Imran Haider
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:29PM

    @afzaalkhan:
    Then, let us admit that now on Hamid Mir will define which aspects of the media accountability lie within the domain of the Supreme Court! Sounds like we are allowing him to make the rules of the game at his terms and conditions. My question essentially is why shall we be only concerned about the financial corruption of the media? Why not to also worry about the intellectual corruption perpetuated by the anchors that is more detrimental to our national progress?

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  • Syed Shah
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:36PM

    @Imran Haider: You are so right. Hamid Mir has along with Shahid Masood had an axe to grind. They have not been exactly honest with their professions. I doubt if it was their professions at all in the first place.

    They pandered to the demands of the terrorists and became their political spokesmen. And the way Hamid Mir sided with Bugti who was fighting the armed forces of Pakistan and was openly anti-Pakistan speaks volume about him. Just to put Musharraf down coz he hated him he was prepared to lift Bugti as does Nawaz Sharif.

    For journalists Pakistan should come first not their personal likes or dislikes. Hamid Mir is responsible a lot for the terrorists mindset created. Media is power and he used it for the wrong ends. Now he is going to court. Ulta chor kothwal dante. He should be fully investigated against. From where he got all that property.

    His claim to fame was from that infamous interview of Binladen. That explains all. He should be tried and duly punished for harming Pakistan and people’s psyche. Yes and don’t forget his despicable role in Lal Masjid affair. He sided with the terrorists and extra-constitutional authorities just because he hated Musharraf. In the process he harms Pakistan he doesn’t care.

    Had he ever walked portals of a good school of journalism he could have been a journalist.

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  • Shahrukh
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:44PM

    What I find strange is that if one person sympathises with Al-Qaeda or Taliban, that somehow affects his integrity as a tv anchor. All tv anchors and media representatives have inherent biases or prejudices, they present their information, which then the people of Pakistan should verify, and if they disagree they should reject. With that I think media can be exploited, which it has been, in Pak thus this accountability idea is a good idea. However as with Hamid Mir, his sympathies are justified by his reasons, which is one disagrees with, must present his own reasons. His sympathies do not justify his integrity as a tv anchor.

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  • A J Khan
    Jul 31, 2012 - 9:56PM

    Hamid Mir thinks that courts are going to re – establish the rmedia losing credibility. Every one knows that courts and media are in syn and scratch each others back in protecting their mutual interests.

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  • Nasir Mahmood
    Aug 1, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Why are they demanding a commission? Why don’t they make their assets and source of income public themselves?

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  • SH
    Aug 1, 2012 - 2:41AM

    Hamid Mir is a self-righteous. He fans hatred and polarization in society. His knowledge of jurisprudence/law is limited at best. Mr. Mir, screaming and aggressively making your points on TV doesn’t make them right…..instead they make you look foolish. Try and understand that if you want to make changes in polity or law, use democratic methods like going through the parliament or supporting parties which support your stance – the solution to every problem is not with the Supreme Court – specially a politicized Supreme Court. Recommend

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