Pemra chief’s appointment challenged

Updated March 16, 2017


ISLAMABAD: A private television channel and its anchorperson on Wednesday moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the appointment of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman.

The BOL Media Group and anchorperson Aamir Liaquat Hussain, in their petition, requested the court to set aside the appointment of Absar Alam as Pemra chairman.

Challenging the appointment, the petitioner alleged that Mr Alam had been coun­try head of the Open Society Founda­tions (OSF), which combats disc­ri­min­ation.

The counsel said that the first advertisement for the Pemra chairman’s seat expected a person who had acquired a master’s degree and was in the age bracket 50-65 years.

However, he contended, the second advertisement conveniently altered the eligibility criteria by changing the required qualification from a master’s degree to a bachelor’s degree and changing the age bracket to 50-61 years.

The counsel also alleged that the Pemra chairman failed to ban all foreign content and had never acted against Indian content and cultural invasion during his time in office.

Meanwhile, the IHC also dismissed a petition filed by Principal Information Officer (PIO) Rao Tehsin, seeking legal action against certain anchorpersons for naming him among those considered responsible for a news story published in Dawn on a security-related meeting, dubbed as Dawn leaks.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani declared the case non-maintainable after it emerged that the petitioner had not approached the relevant authorities before filing a petition before the IHC.

Mr Tehsin had named as respondents the interior and information secretaries, chairman of the Dawn leaks inquiry committee, Pemra, and anchorpersons Kamran Khan, Jasmine Manzoor and Salman Mirza as respondents.

In the petition, he maintained that the federal government had constituted on Nov 6, 2016, an inquiry committee to investigate the publication of the Dawn story ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military’.

The PIO claimed that certain media groups reported that the inquiry committee had issued its report and holding him and two other persons responsible for the leak. The court has issued notices to the three anchors for April 3.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2017