Pemra slaps Rs1 million fine on Channel 92 for 'maligning' SAPM Zulfi Bukhari

Published February 1, 2020
Bukhari says he was portrayed as a traitor in the programme Jawab Chahye, urges channel to apologise. — Twitter/File
Bukhari says he was portrayed as a traitor in the programme Jawab Chahye, urges channel to apologise. — Twitter/File

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Channel 92 for "airing defamatory content" against Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfikar Bukhari in October last year.

The fine amounting to Rs1,000,000 has been imposed upon M/S Galaxy Broadcasting Network (Pvt.) Ltd., the owner of Channel 92, read a copy of the decision available with APP.

The authority noted that the media house violated clause 22 (1) of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct, 2015, "by airing false allegations against Zulfikar Bukhari" in two separate programmes —Jawab Chahiye and News Report — aired on October 17 and 18, 2019, respectively.

Issuing censure for airing allegedly baseless and defamatory material against the SAPM "without any evidence and providing him an opportunity to defend", Pemra warned the channel and its anchorpersons of strict action against airing any such defamatory news programme against anybody in the future.

The decision to this effect was taken by Pemra on the recommendations of Islamabad's Council of Complaints (CoC), which heard the arguments of both parties during its 65th meeting held on January 2.

Pemra advised the channel to ensure compliance of the decision within seven days of issuance of the notification.

Bukhari appeared before the council in person along with his legal team while Usama Shamas, Aftab Bajwa and Sohail Bhatti represented the channel during the hearing.

The SAPM, in his complaint lodged with Pemra on October 29, contended that anchorperson Dr Danish did a "concocted and fabricated" show against him on Channel 92. He said that the programme was factually incorrect and based on lies.

"Pemra's decision has provided me a strong foundation to file a liable suit against Danish in Pakistan and the United Kingdom for my character assassination," Bukhari told APP on Saturday.

The SAPM said that the anchorperson "was wrong on everything in his one-hour talk show" and shared incorrect information with his viewers.

He further said that he was "portrayed as a traitor" by questioning his loyalty to Pakistan and was compared to former Pakistan ambassador to US Husain Haqqani.

Urging the channel and anchorperson to tender a public apology, Bukhari said such accusations had damaged his reputation.

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