ISLAMABAD - The Council of Complaints of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on a private  TV channel for airing unfounded and baseless allegations against Executive Director of Lok Virsa Dr Fouzia Saeed.

The authority’s council in its 41st meeting asked the channel to air an apology in its prime time programme in the same manner with the same magnitude within seven days otherwise ready to face the music.

The channel was directed to deposit the fine amount with the PEMRA regional office and air the apology within seven days. In case of non-compliance of the decision, the licence of the channel will be revoked, the recommendation said. The authority also warned the channel not to repeat the same violation of the PEMRA rules in future. The Executive Director lodged a complaint against the channel for airing unfounded serious allegations against the Lok Virsa head in its programme “Be Naqab” aired on June 5, 2016 in a bid to destroy the image of the premier cultural organisation of the country and defame her.

The complainant in her application maintained that “anchorperson Naveed Satti tried to blackmail the national institution for his ulterior motives through his programme without obtaining any point of view of Lok Virsa management or conducting proper research on the issue. He made personal attacks on the Lok Virsa ED showing her personal photographs and making unfounded allegations which could pose a serious threat to her life and her family.

The complainant further maintained that the reporting is in violation of basic journalistic ethics, fundamental rights and clear violation of Clause-8 of the Code of Conduct for Electronic Media 2015.

The complainant asked the council to ask the anchorperson to submit any evidence in support of his allegations regarding appointments and other matters. Subsequently the contents of the programme in point was played during the hearing of the case wherein it was observed that the anchorperson has made serious allegations against the Lok Virsa ED about her appointment, printing expenses, celebration of Basant festival.

The council asked the anchorperson to submit any evidence in his defense, but he failed to do so and sought more time to adjourn the hearing. The council directed him to submit evidence on next hearing.

The authority warned the channel to comply with its directions or else the license of the channel will be cancelled.