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Event Title: Senate Sub-Committee on Human Rights investigates airing of controversial advertisement on PTV

Event Date: 2018-11-15

The meeting of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights was held on Thursday under the Convenership of Senator Usman Khan Kakar; the meeting was attended by Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini and senior officers of the Home Department of Punjab, Directorate General Public Relations, Secretary Ministry of Human Rights, Government of Pakistan,  DMD PTVC and Chairman PEMRA.

The meeting was called to probe airing of an hatred advertisement by PTV on the occasion of Muharram.  Convener Committee, Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that this meeting had been called to ensure that those responsible for content creation and airing of this advertisement are taken to the task. 

Senator Jehanzeb condemned the advertisement and said that discrimination on grounds of ethnicity is deplorable and that all four provinces represent Pakistan equally and must be treated in an unbiased manner. He asserted that every Pakistani contributes to the development of Pakistan and any threat to national harmony is intolerable. 

Hassan Immad Mohamad, DMD PTVC informed the sub-Committee that the advertisement produced by the government of Punjab had two versions, original and revised. Due to some disconnect between Government of Punjab and PTV sales office/PTV News could not be replaced by the by the revised one on PTV News. 

The Committee felt strongly that the issue began at the content development stage.  Bilal Ilyas, Deputy Secretary Home Department Punjab informed the Sub-Committee that content before dissemination is approved by the Cabinet sub-Committee on Law and Order. He further stressed that even though the advertisement was initiated by the Home Department Punjab, it was run through Directorate General Public Relations (DGPR).  Amjad Hussain, DGPR, refuting claims, said that once content is approved by the concerned department, DGPR is only responsible for its dissemination. 

Hassan Immad Mohamad, DMD PTVC informed the Committee that the incorrect version was approved and handed over to PTV through a release order.  Subsequently it was corrected and then disseminated to private TV channels as well. The incorrect version that was handed over to PTV was run for a while and then stopped. He said that their General Manager Marketing and Deputy Controller Marketing have been suspended at the Lahore Office.  An inquiry has been called and the inquiry report which will be submitted on Monday is awaited. 

The sub-Committee recommended that the draft committee of the Home Department that developed content for the advertisement must be called in the next meeting. It also stressed that the concerned Director involved in dissemination of this content must be summoned as well.  Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini stressed the need to standardize systems so that issues such as these are not repeated.  He stressed the need for DGPR to evaluate content that is handed over to them.