Media accountability: SC directs Auditor General to present 3-year record of Information Ministry

Published: September 13, 2012
Hamid Mir, Absar Alam give details to media regarding the misuse of tax payers' money for government's propaganda.

Hamid Mir, Absar Alam give details to media regarding the misuse of tax payers' money for government's propaganda.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the Auditor General of Pakistan to present a three-year record of the Information Ministry, while hearing the media accountability petition on Thursday, reported Express News. The petition was filed by TV anchors Hamid Mir and Absar Alam.

The court also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to present the record of advertising agency Midas.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Mir said that the petitioners have presented figures to the court which revealed that Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira’s lawyer Abid Sakhi had misguided the court. Mir also called for action to be taken against the lawyer.

Alam said that they were fighting a war against those media owners who become agents of the government and use the tax payers’ money for their personal gains.

Citing figures which were presented to the apex court regarding the misuse of public money, Alam stated that Rs123.8 million were allocated to a special budget publicity campaign, Rs300 million were given as aid to APNS (All Pakistan Newspapers Society), Rs440 million were allocated for various publicity campaigns used for government’s propaganda, Rs12.8 million on secret service expenditure, Rs500 million were given to advertising agencies and TV channels, Rs390 million was given to Azad Kashmir TV, Rs900 million to PTV Multan, Rs25 million to Press Council of Pakistan and Rs300 million to Radio Pakistan.

“We have submitted details of the supplementary grants, which have not been mentioned anywhere in the budget,” Alam mentioned.

Mir also claimed that the central office of APNS is being constructed in Karachi with the funds of the Information Ministry.

“The credibility of media in Pakistan has been hurt by some ‘black sheep’. Some anchors who are not journalists are being bought, which is a threat to the free media. Fingers are being pointed at us as well because of their corruption,” Mir maintained.

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