ISLAMABAD: The country’s electronic media regulator on Monday suspended talk show anchor Dr Shahid Masood and his programme, Live with Dr Shahid Masood, on Bol television for 30 days.
It also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the Bol network for making baseless allegations against the Pakistan Army and the federal ministers for finance and defence.
The decision was made on the recommendations of the Sindh Council of Complaints (CoC) after the channel [Bol] and the anchor of Live with Dr Shahid Masood failed to prove their point over complaints lodged against them.
According to the complaint submitted to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) by federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, in his show on Jan 24 Dr Masood had made allegations of a defamatory nature about an alleged meeting in Rawalpindi, with the mala fide and ulterior motives of attacking the integrity of the federal minister. Senator Dar claimed that no such meeting had taken place and the allegations were false.
During the initial inquiry by Pemra, it was confirmed that Dr Masood had narrated that Mr Dar and Khawaja Asif had held a meeting with senior military leadership in Rawalpindi.
Bol’s management (M/s Labbaik Private Limited) and the anchor were given two hearings by the Sindh CoC to clarify their point.
Pemra said that the TV channel and its host along with the co-host had failed to defend their position or present any evidence in favour of such comments on Feb 2 and Feb 10.
“Instead they kept seeking adjournments by the CoC,” a Pemra official said.
After the hearings, Pemra issued an order stating that Dr Masood and his programme would be suspended for 30 days along with a fine of Rs1 million. Since then, the anchor has moved from Bol to NewsOne. Pemra has also conveyed this decision to the management of the channel (M/s Airwaves Pvt Ltd). In a statement issued on Monday, Pemra said that if Bol or NewsOne violated the order, the regulatory body would take action against the licence holders in accordance with the law.
The CoC deferred the decision regarding a complaint filed by JUI-F MNA Shahida Akhtar Ali against Bol for airing Dr Aamir Liaquat’s programme Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga on Nov 21, 2016 in which derogatory remarks and allegations were made against the leader of her party, Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The council is waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on a review petition filed by M/s Labbaik.
Published in Dawn February 14th, 2017