ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has imposed a fine of Rs1 million on a private TV channel for airing defamatory content against Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari.

“A fine amounting to Rs1m is imposed upon M/s Galaxy Broadcasting Network (Pvt) Ltd / Channel-92,” read the Pemra decision.

Pemra noted that the media house had violated Clause 22 (1) of the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct, 2015, by airing false allegations against Mr Bukhari in its two programmes Jawab Chahiye, hosted by Dr Danish, and News Report aired on Oct 17 and 18, respectively.

Issuing censure for airing baseless and defamatory material against Mr Bukhari without any evidence and providing him an opportunity to defend himself, Pemra warned the channel and the anchorperson of strict action against airing such defamatory news programme against anybody in future.

The decision was taken by Pemra on the recommendations of its council of complaints, Islamabad, which heard the arguments of the SAPM and M/s Galaxy Broadcasting Network (Pvt) Ltd, during its 65th meeting.

Zulfi Bukhari hints at legal action against anchor Dr Danish in Pakistan, UK

The authority advised the channel to ensure compliance of its decision within seven days of issuance of the notification.

Mr 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.

Mr Bukhari, in its complaint lodged with Pemra on Oct 29, 2019, had contended that anchorperson Dr Danish did a concocted and fabricated show against him on Channel-92 which was factually incorrect and based on lies.

On Saturday, Mr Bukhari told APP that the Pemra decision had provided him a strong foundation to file a suit against Dr Danish in Pakistan and the United Kingdom for his character assassination.

He said the anchorperson was totally wrong about everything in his one-hour talk show including screening of incorrect facts, onshore company portrayed as offshore firm, misrepresentation of facts mentioned in the documents, misquoted facts with regard to a concluded inquiry in the National Accountability Bureau and his status as dual national.

Mr Bukhari said he was portrayed as a traitor by the anchor by questioning his loyalty to Pakistan, and termed a security risk and compared with Hussain Haqqani.

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

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2020