Body formed to probe Maryam's media cell admission

Committee will report its findings on any irregularities found in the allotment of advertisements

Our Correspondent November 25, 2021


The information and broadcasting ministry on Thursday set up a committee to investigate PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s admission that a viral audio clip in which she could be heard instructing someone to stop advertisements to certain TV channels was authentic.

The PML-N leader had admitted at a news conference a day earlier that she had indeed ordered stopping advertisements to certain channels, following which federal ministers reacted strongly.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry had lashed out at the PML-N vice president, alleging that the latter doled out Rs18 billion from the national kitty to reward blue-eyed journalists and media channels at federal and Punjab levels during her party’s last tenure.

Read Maryam confirms authenticity of viral audio clip

The inquiry committee would report its findings on any irregularities found in the allotment of advertisements issued to media organisations during the PML-N’s time in power.

Fawad had said Maryam’s confession of controlling advertisements was another admission of serious financial irregularities and hoped that she would also confess to her properties abroad.

He had added that curtailing or blocking advertisements for specific TV channels was certainly an “immoral and illegal” act.

Fawad had claimed that the PML-N’s media cell, which Maryam oversaw at the Prime Minister’s House, had used around Rs10 billion from the federal government’s reserves.

“With approval of the party’s media cell, supervised by Maryam, Rs9.62 billion were used for funding of federal government [advertisements], while around Rs10 billion for the Punjab government,” he had added.

“Initially, 15 members were made part of the cell and later Rs20 million were allocated for additional recruitment and was mandated to run targeted media campaigns.”

In the audio that went viral on social media, Maryam can be heard instructing someone that no advertisement would go to certain channels that she had named.

Hours after Maryam confirmed the authenticity of the audio clip, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) came out to condemn what it described as an act akin to “stifling the media and financial exploitation of journalists”.

In a statement, Rana Muhammad Azeem, the secretary general of the PFUJ, went on to announce that the organisation would move the Supreme Court against the PML-N leader, seeking a trial against her.


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