PTV slaps ban on anchors for ‘defaming organisation’

Published: January 24, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: The scandal about alleged harassment in the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) has taken a new turn as the PTV management has slapped a ban on two of its female anchors for taking to social media and appearing in talk shows to ‘defame the organisation’.

Prior to taking the issue to media, the female anchors — Tanzeela Mazhar and Yashfeen Jamal — had complained to the PTV management against an employee Agha Masood Shorish for the alleged sexual advances and harassment.

PPP urges govt to take notice of sexual harassment reports at PTV

On January 20, the PTV management issued circular stating that ‘certain’ PTV employees were using social media to comment on matters that were currently being inquired into officially.

“Such comments must be removed or deleted within 24 hours of issuance of the circular, failing which strict disciplinary action will be taken,” the circular read.

However, both the anchors did not remove the content from their social media handles and also discussed the issue on Sunday in the Express TV show ‘To The Point’ with Mansoor Ali Khan.

Later, the PTV’s Controller Current Affairs Habibur Rehman issued a letter on Monday stating that both the anchors are banned immediately as anchors as well as participants in the PTV News.

“This is apropos to the January 22, 2017 TV show in which both the female anchors participated with beepers, defaming the PTV organisation,” it said.

The notice further stated that no organisation could afford such insulting and defamatory behaviour of anchors in spite of their being on the payroll of the PTV. There is already underway an internal inquiry headed by a female officer of the information ministry with authority of the judicial magistrate, it said.

Taking to Twitter

For the last one week, the issue is being discussed on the social media, especially Twitter, where one of the anchors Tanzeela Mazhar shared details of the alleged harassment. People from different walks of life have started supporting the anchor for ‘speaking out’.

Mazhar shared screenshots of personal chat, alleging Director Current Affairs Agha Masood Shorish of sexually harassing her and Yashfeen Jamal. Both have also been stating that the environment in the state-run television is hostile and condescending to women.

The tweets by the anchors have received different responses from different segments of society and many have supported them and appreciated their stance. However, several people, including some officials of the PTV, shared screenshots and tweets giving ‘the other side of the story’.

Mazhar in one of her tweets said: “Women are being victimised for standing against anti-woman practices and mindset.” However, TV anchor and Mazhar’s colleague Imran Hassan replied in one of the tweets that harassment law is to protect women. “Please do not abuse it for your personals gains, stop playing with PTV’s image.”

PPP women MNAs take up harassment issue

Talking to The Express Tribune, Shorish termed all the allegations baseless and defamatory and said he would urge the management to release findings of the report to clear the confusion.

An official privy to the developments said investigation into the issue had been finalised and the PTV Chairperson Attaul Haq Qasmi had the report, adding that a decision on the report will be taken soon.

A PTV staffer, familiar with the controversy, said for the last many years some of the anchors – including the above two – had been provided with more on-air opportunities in the primetime as well as financial benefits than other anchors.

“Now what has happened all of a sudden that they have taken to social media to raise their voice against the person who once supported them,” he maintained.

On Friday, the PPP also submitted a calling attention notice with the National Assembly Secretariat urging the Federal Minister for Human Rights to take action against incidents of sexual harassment at state-run television.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Haris
    Jan 24, 2017 - 9:38AM

    ‘some anchors were provided more opportunity on air and now they have turned against their person who supported them’

    The above statement itself is a total joke of management practice and to me is a sort of corruption and demands inquiry itself !Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Jan 24, 2017 - 9:59AM

    PTV is nothing but a sham, a setup backed by pro-government cronies.Recommend

  • Goodman
    Jan 24, 2017 - 10:51AM

    Had I not been through an unforgettable incident myself I would have immediately supported the females in this case. But in these days females very easily blame anyone for sexual harassment. As an internal auditor when I asked a lady not to use office satellite phone (which was for emergency calls only) for discussing upcoming mehendi celebrations of her friend I was later that day called by HR only to discover that she had complained that I sexually harassed her. Recommend

  • bashir gul
    Jan 24, 2017 - 10:59AM

    Another attempt to sweep the whole scandal under the carpet. A government channel and everything going smoothly? No way, corruption in every department is rampant. Why was she provided more opportunity?Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Jan 24, 2017 - 11:25AM

    This is a man’s world ladies, and Pakistan is the leader, please make sure that when you cry for justice and help your case goes to another man who favors the other man…Ladies you will never get justice.Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Jan 24, 2017 - 12:29PM

    And if you get Justice it will be at the mercy of another man not the Law or your rights Ladies…
    I hope a day will come when all this will be available to the common man at ease and at his or her door steps…InshahAllah.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 24, 2017 - 1:30PM

    PTV…..what PTV ?Recommend

  • ABC
    Jan 24, 2017 - 1:51PM

    Excellent decision by PTV. If you are working in an organization, you have to follow the rules. If the matter is under inquiry, you cannot discuss it. Women of this country think they are superior than all laws.Recommend

  • Careless Whisper
    Jan 24, 2017 - 2:36PM

    Who Watch’zzz PTV???? Recommend

  • Anwar Qureshi
    Jan 24, 2017 - 2:37PM

    @Goodman:
    Goodman you are not a g/m; the girls are complaining and certainly PTV management will not be fair to hold the accused responsible; its the machoman society; manhood hegemony prevails everywhere. These ladies we have seen their performance on PTV Talkshows had been excellent. So they must be treated with respect and honor.Recommend

  • Ali Rehman
    Jan 24, 2017 - 2:54PM

    What a shame, be-prepared for the worst in this country because we are living in a sick society with sick people around us.Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Jan 24, 2017 - 5:21PM

    In fact this happens in all media houses but with concent not force.. Recommend

  • Bhatti
    Jan 24, 2017 - 8:46PM

    These two deserved it.. any organization would have done the sameRecommend

  • quatro
    Jan 24, 2017 - 9:43PM

    Intimidating women because they complain of sexual harassment is inappropriate. If they tried that crap in the West and these ladies could sue and likely win big judgements.Recommend

  • Omer
    Jan 25, 2017 - 12:21PM

    Reminds me of the good old phrase “BRIGHT KAREIN AISEEE, BABA BABAB BAABA” so the staff handling the lady calling out were no way near to any harassment.
    Speaks volumes of our double standards. If there is truth in it the culprits must be punished but it should not be for personal advantages to concoct such things.If proven otherwise the potential victims should be thoroughly put to task Recommend

  • Farah
    Feb 7, 2017 - 11:37AM

    Female anchors must stop taking advantage of their gender. Agha Shorish is a honourable person indeed i have met him many times. There should be counter harassment law too which should deal with foul women who take advantages by harrasing a decent fellow and organization for their personal gains. Recommend

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