Pemra denies making ‘foreign funding’ allegations

Says its mandate does not include investigating private media’s source of funding.

Our Correspondent July 31, 2013
Says its mandate does not include investigating private media’s source of funding. DESIGN: ROZINA BHUTTO


Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Tuesday scotched reports that it had made allegations of foreign funding against any media outlet.

Pemra released the statement a day after the Supreme Court issued notices to its officials over allegations that they made about a media house airing foreign funded programmes.

On Monday a three-judge SC bench had sought the responses of the Pemra chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed, its executive director Dr Abdul Jabbar, director general (licensing) Ashfaq Jumani, general manager (legal) Nasir Ahmed and secretary Suhail Ahmed.

In the statement, Pemra clarified its position regarding a news item published in the press alleging that PEMRA backtracked from its earlier statement about foreign funding of a private TV channel.

It ran: “It is clarified that PEMRA has never made any assertion about involvement of foreign funding in the private TV channel.”

It  pointed out that the written reply submitted by the authority to “the august Media Commission” could also substantiate that it had not made any statement about foreign funding in private TV channels.

“It is not even Pemra’s mandate to investigate the source of funding of private electronic media. Pemra, as a regulator, understands its responsibilities and limits. It is to put the record straight that Pemra officials have never made such baseless assertions against any particular media group as reported in the press with reference to Media Commission report,” the handout stated.

It also said that anchor person  Hamid Mir while discussing the Media Commission report in his talk show dated July 22, 2013 has also reflected that “the present Pemra chairman does not own allegations of foreign funding to TV channels”.

It further elaborated that the authority did not officially rebut this statement before because its legal counsel Zulfiqar Maluka had advised it not to clarify the matter in media as it was sub-judice in the apex court.

It said: “Pemra in its written reply submitted before the Honourable Supreme Court dated July 29, 2013, has categorically denied this statement of Media Commission Report.”

“Since, the matter has been widely highlighted in the media, it is now important to clarify that the Pemra does not own this kind of assertion and has never leveled such unverified allegations against any media group,” the press release ran.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.


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