PEMRA Controversy

Mar 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Ethics, Geo TV, Jang, PEMRA

PEMRAThe News today leads with a troubling story about a PEMRA executive instructing an employee to play games with the broadcast of cricket World Cup on Geo Super. The whistleblowing employee, Regional General Manager of Pemra in Balochistan Gul Muhammad Kakar, provided a document that describes his claim. This case should be investigated to ensure that PEMRA is operating in an objective and fair manner and not targeting any particular media group.

Jang Group which is the owner of Geo is understandably upset, but cries of nefarious plots hatched in the top echelons of power and conspiracies par excellence are premature. Jang Group’s claim that “it has become clear that the government is bent upon bulldozing its way, breaking all laws, trampling upon the rights guaranteed by the highest of courts and the constitution of the country” is an overstatement of the facts as are presently known. Such sensationalism and hyperbole threaten to undermine the cause of objective review of the facts that is required by the course of justice. Certainly there should be “an open and rapid accountability” of anyone involved in attempting to suppress media. But accountability require objective inquiry and not media trials with pre-determined conclusions.

This is a serious accusation that had been made, and it is imperative that the authority of PEMRA not be tarnished by the inappropriate actions of any PEMRA officer. Accordingly, there should be an investigation into the claims of Gul Muhammad Kakar and if any PEMRA officer has acted outside the boundaries of professionalism, he should be sacked immediately. However, the investigation should not be turned into a ‘witch hunt’ and used to score political points and settle personal rivalries. Jang Group needs to let the law take its course and, while defending its own rights, not respond in an extreme manner that undermines its own cause.

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