Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said the controversy of media rating company Medialogic and Express News is in the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who has ordered Punjab’s inspector general of police to find out the facts.
Speaking to Gharida Farooqi in Express News programme ‘G for Gharida’, he said the government wants this matter to be investigated by a committee formed in consultation with and agreement of both the parties.
Responding to Express News’ demand for formation of a joint investigation team (JIT), he claimed that the situations that call for making of a JIT were essentially different in nature from the current crisis.
“The CM has instructed to assign the case to an officer of good repute with agreement of the parties. The case of the aggrieved party will be registered and legal action will be taken against the aggressor,” Sanaullah said. He said there were instances where police investigated against policemen, who were later punished.
The minister said the probe would do the fact finding on the allegations levelled by Shaista Mushtaq, the employee of Medialogic, who was forced to sign on fake testimonies against Express News.
“The investigation will reveal where the police had violated the law,” he said, adding that he hoped many things will be finalised about this in the next three to four days.
He said it is the government that will register the case but progress cannot be made until the aggrieved woman gets her statement recorded.
“She will have to appear before the investigation team. Punishing anyone without inquiry is not right. We are ready to form a fact finding committee for both the parties belonging to the media,” he said.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Uzma Bukhari said, “We need to support the woman who was harassed. We should probe to find what had happened.” She said apparently this was an issue between two media groups but for government the issue of woman harassment was more important.
“The CM is also concerned about the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) officials’ behaviour with Shaista. The things will gradually progress once the fact finding is over. No one will be spared. We will help Shaista get justice,” she said.
Bukhari said the government was not conspiring to close down Express News. “No one can hatch such a conspiracy,” she added.
Speaking in the show Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Samsam Bukhari said the investigations will clarify everything but the way the woman was handled was deplorable. “The police always support the government. The rating process is improper and the results of most of the surveys are predefined,” he said.
Senior journalist Dr Jabbar Khattak said that since there was only one organisation for media rating, it had become a monopoly. “It has only one thousand meters to decide the fate of the electronic media. The authorities should explain how this system was established,” he said.
Khattak said Medialogic ignored many regional channels. “It is said that Medialogic demands bribe to give good rating. It is not media-logic, it is media-illogic,” he said.
Former IG Shoukat Javed said police raid without an FIR and warrants is illegal action. “What we have learnt through Express News wants legal action. We need to unearth the hands behind it,” he said.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) President Rana Azim said the federation has protested over the lethargic attitude of the government over the issue. “Government or other forces cannot close down Express News which has thousands of workers. Journalist community will support the channel to thwart any conspiracy against it,” he said.
Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) leader Allama Tahir Ashrafi said, “The ministers of the Nawaz government are so lazy that they have not taken any notice of the issue so far.”
He said it was an established fact that the CIA Lahore rounded up two of Shaista’s brothers without any legal reason. “There are JITs formed on every petty issue. Why are they hesitant to set up one on this matter?” he asked.
He said police are not allowed to raid the house of a lady without women police. “Is no one moved by the tears of Shaista or her mother?”
He said a company like Medialogic does not deserve to exist as it has not developed a safe system and its results can be maneuvered by spending a little money only.
“The sampling method is also not secure as it pays Rs3,000 per household. Anyone can manipulate it by offering a little more, say Rs5000. The issue could be resolved on the table through discussion. The way it was tried to handle has exposed the weaknesses our rating system has,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2015.