ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court yesterday directed the federal government to submit a detailed report on implementation of Media Commission’s recommendations.

The commission report in 2013 set nine terms of reference (TORs) for print, electronic, social and classical media.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, gave this direction while hearing the case. The bench asked Additional Secretary Information Saba Mohsin Raza what steps had so far been taken to implement the recommendations.

The court observed that some progress had been made in the formulation of code of conduct for media and the secret funds. Justice Jawwad observed that there were other issues, including Audit Bureau Circulation (ABC) and rating of electronic media.

The additional information secretary told the court that a system was being developed to address the issue of ABC. She further said software ‘Directorate of Electronic Media’ had been developed to monitor the rating of TV channels.

Absaar Alam, a petitioner, submitted that the government was not dealing with the ratings of news channels, but most of the advertising companies in collaboration with the media owners were setting the ratings.

Hamid Mir, another petitioner, said that according to the Pemra rules, only 12 minutes’ advertisements were allowed in a talk show, but some of the channels were running advertisements for 24 minutes.

The hearing was adjourned for 10 days.

SC rejects review petitions on land lease verdict: The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the review petitions of Makro-Habib and Army Welfare Trust against its December 18, 2009, judgment regarding cancellation of a lease of land in Karachi.

The court had also directed Makro-Habib to close down its commercial outlet in the Lines Area, Karachi, in three months and restore the 4.9 acres of land on which the structure was built to its original status of a playground. The lease was granted to the Army Welfare Trust in 2002 and the sublease to Makro-Habib in July 2006.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, after hearing the arguments of the counsel for Makro-Habib and AWT, declared: “The review petitions are dismissed and the reasons will be recorded later.”

Khalid Anwar, the counsel for Makro-Habib, argued before the bench that according to the Karachi master plan, there was no playground at the place where the AWT plaza had been constructed. He said more than 300 persons would lose jobs if commercial activities were stopped by the court.

He also contended if the court upheld its earlier order, ownership of the land should be given to the federal government. Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mahmood requested the bench to transfer the land to the federal government.

Jawwad S Khawaja questioned how the five acres of land situated in the heart of Karachi had been allotted at the annual rent of Rs 6,020. He said: “This does not happen in a first world country that a person wears a hat of army chief, President and AWT chairman; this happens only in a third-world country.”

The chief justice said: “The court appreciates the functioning of AWT because it has been established for the welfare of the soldiers who are fighting for the defence of the country, but the government should allocate money in the budget for the trust instead of leasing out the land to it. This is a sorrow state of affairs,” remarked Justice Dost Muhammad Khan.