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.