Allegations of media-related corruption in the context of Elections 2013

Allegations of media-related corruption in the context of elections due in 2013 as per the Commission’s formulation:

1. That, in the last quarter of 2012 in particular and in the period leading up to the commencement of the formal election phase, placement of ads in media about various development projects of the Federal Government and the four Provincial Governments have increased notably “so as to influence public opinion” in favour of one or more political parties or personalities.

Note: The Supreme Court has already in 2012 taken notice of, and prohibited the further publication or broadcast of advertisements about Government programmes and projects in which the photographs and names of public office-holders belonging to ruling parties are featured.

2. That certain political parties and leaders, through their moneyed supporters, have already even before the commencement of the formal election phase, covertly “purchased” certain TV channels on a short-term basis, or on a part-time basis e.g. for about three months, or for about three hours of prime time per day, in order to slant programming contents in their own favour in a subtle manner.

3. That, similarly, prospective candidates and political parties have paid bribes/offered inducements to certain TV anchors, producers, news directors or TV channels to make comments or project content which advances their own electoral prospects.

4. That some journalists/proprietors/editors/broadcasters in the print and broadcast media have also been given financial inducements to favour certain parties or leaders.

5. That budgets for the advertising campaigns of the Federal Government and organizations under its control, as well as similar budgets of the four Provincial Governments and of organizations under their control were deliberately increased in the years between 2008 and 2013 both for corrupt purposes and to divert funds for eventual use in the Elections 2013.

6. Those certain private-sector firms spend large amounts on advertising in media to covertly discourage/prevent/influence these media from reporting or commenting adversely upon aspects of these same private firms.

7. That most of the media, print and broadcast, do not adequately or never publish or broadcast investigative report/content which implicates/exposes how some of the largest advertisers are involved in irregularities, malpractices, unethical actions.

8. That the above two allegations may not be directly election-related but that they reflect the tendency of media to be vulnerable to exploitation and misuse for corrupt aims.

9. Non-financial aspects of media-related corruption: e.g. undeclared individual sympathies, alignments, etc. of media proprietors or journalists or broadcasters which will subtly or explicitly slant the nature and volume of coverage given by certain media for or against certain parties and candidates.

10. That the 4 to 5 in-house “CD” channels allowed by PEMRA to each cable TV distributor/operator can be/will be used to project advertising content or other messages at a local — not a national — level, to favour particular candidates or political parties.

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