Channels’ rating case: Accord between PBA, Medialogic be presented, says CJP

August 18,2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed all the parties concerned to sit together with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority chairman and evolve mechanism for issuing ratings to TV...

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has directed all the parties concerned to sit together with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman and evolve mechanism for issuing ratings to TV channel programmes in a transparent manner besides giving their solid recommendations and proposals for resolving the matter.

Chief Justice of PAki9stan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar observed if all parties concerned succeeded in evolving an amicable solution to resolve the matter, it will withdraw contempt notice against Salman Danish. He said an agreement between the Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) and Medialogic should be present before the court.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen resumed hearing into BOL TV channel rating case on Thursday. The court also deferred the decision pertaining to indictment of Chief Executive of Medialogic Salman Danish in contempt case until next date of hearing.

The court also maintained its earlier order, restraining the Medialogic from issuing ratings to TV channels. In pursuance of court’s last order, Medialogic CEO Salman Danish appeared before the court and tendered unconditional apology.

On last hearing, the court had issued show cause notice to Medialogic CEO Salman Dainsh, directing him to appear before it in-person on the next date of hearing. The court had issued him show cause notice for not implementing its order in BOL TV case, ordering it to give ratings to BOL TV.

The court asked Salman Danish as to why he failed to comply with the court orders intentionally. The CEO however tendered unconditional apology saying they are doing their work honestly to which the chief justice observed that rating is being given to channels on payments.

The CEO further informed that they are also giving ratings to BOL TV adding that he tenders unconditional apology however the chief justice said that they are rejecting his apology.

The chief justice recalled that in Nehal Hashmi’s case the court had held that even after accepting unconditional apology, punishment will follow. “Your unconditional apology is tantamount to accepting your guilt hence we are sending you behind the bars for three months”, the CJP remarked.

The chief justice asked attorney General Khalid Javed to prepare the charge sheet for indicting the CEO Salman Danish. The CEO said that they had already submitted their reply in connection with implementing the court orders in letter and spirit.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen, another member of the bench observed that there is an allegation against the CEO for tampering with the ratings intentionally. Counsel for Medialogic said that they were on the mercy of the court, adding that after August 9 they did not issue anyone ratings. He said that if the court orders they would conduct audit by any chartered accountant firm. The court asked Pemra to evolve its own mechanism for issuing ratings and not to allow private companies to earn money.

The chief justice also asked counsel for Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) to consult its client and convince it to which Faisal Siddiqui, counsel said that his client had already understood its earlier order.

On court query, counsel for PBA submitted that the organisation has a total of 16 permanent members. Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that 16 big boys have totally controlled the whole system adding that there are other two big boys who controls the whole system.

Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi also admitted that the broadcasters had maintained monopoly. The court observed that it had also sought reply from federal information secretary.

During the hearing the chief justice asked Mian Aamir, owner of Dunya News and chairman Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) who was present in the courtroom to conduct a programme on his TV against him.

“Your programme will not affect me”, the chief justice added. Mian Aamir however, replied that he cannot conduct programme against the chief justice. Anwar Mansoor Khan, counsel for BOL TV suggested the court that two to three companies should be assigned the task to conduct ratings and they should be asked to submit its findings to Pemra for final decision.

Faisal Siddiqui, counsel for Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) submitted that all parties should be given an opportunity to sit together to hold one meeting and deliberate upon the matter besides deferring the matter of indictment of Salman Danish in the contempt matter until next date of hearing.

At this the chief justice said if all the parties concerned unanimously make an amicable solution to resolve the instant matter, they will withdraw the contempt notice against Salman Danish. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till September 5 directing the attorney general for preparing the draft of indictment of Salman Danish.


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