Ensuring transparency: Curbs ordered on Bol TV transmission

Information ministry says the channel’s operation could stymie inquiry

Our Correspondent May 29, 2015
Information ministry says the channel’s operation could stymie inquiry. PHOTO: FLICKR


The information and broadcasting ministry asked the country’s media regulatory body on Thursday to block Bol TV transmissions until the investigation into the channel’s parent company Axact is complete.

The inquiry that was launched after a New York Times (NYT) exposé claimed the IT company was running a “fake education empire”, resulted in the arrest of Axact CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh late Tuesday night.

Hundreds of thousands of counterfeit degrees and identity cards of students were recovered earlier when FIA investigators raided the company’s office in Karachi.

Talking about the ministry’s request to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Information Secretary Muhammad Azam said the regulatory authority was advised under Section 5 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 to ensure that Bol TV does not go on air.

Section 5 states that “the federal government may, as and when it considers necessary, issue directives to [Pemra] on matters of policy, and such directives shall be binding on the authority, and if a question arises whether any matter is a matter of policy or not, the decision of the federal government shall be final.”

According to a copy of the information ministry’s letter to Pemra, the NYT report has “severely damaged the image of the country”.

On the subject of Pemra issuing a licence to Labbaik (Pvt) Ltd for airing Bol News and Bol Entertainment channels, the ministry said some of the Axact directors, including the company’s CEO, “are known to be directors of Labbaik”. While it has been learnt that Labbaik intends to launch the Bol TV channels, the FIA has taken cognisance of the matter and an investigation is under way in this regard.

“Since the matter is under investigation, letting the channel go on air might prevent a fair and transparent inquiry,” read the letter.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2015.


Jawad U Rahman | 6 years ago | Reply Regardless of government's actions, Bol is doomed. Do the simple math: 2000 employees, let's assume average salary of 200,000 Rupees per month. That's 400 million Rupees a month just in salaries. Add about the same amount for expenses. Where is Bol going to get 800 million Rupees every month with its main financiers behind bars and their accounts frozen? And which company or organization will want to advertise on a channel with a tainted reputation and a question mark over its finances. Expect a massive exodus in June when people don't receive their salaries.
Azhar | 6 years ago | Reply Its funny though when Imran Khan demanded Nawaz Sharif to resign or at least for 1 month step down until inquiry is conducted into the elections - everyone cried and blamed him to be insane. Now the gov is going with the same logic. Hypocrites!
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