NA warns TV anchors to stop exposing lawmakers

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday came up with united stance through a unanimous resolution to condemn all those TV anchorpersons who, according to them, telecast programmes against parliamentarians without verification “for some personal agendas, ulterior motives or unlawful gains”.

A minister’s protest against the conduct of one anchor of a private channel turned into a crescendo of complaints across party lines in general against the perceived “black sheep” and particularly against that man and demands for amends and caution by employers.

The resolution, moved by the Federal Minister Sheikh Waqas Akram, was also supported by all the members from opposition and treasury benches. It was signed by Lt. General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch (PML-N), Wasim Akhtar (MQM) and Ms Bushra Gohar on behalf of their parties.

“All those anchorpersons who are telecasting programmes against parliamentarians and other entities without verification, but for some personal agendas, ulterior motives or unlawful gains or such anchorpersons who have been exposed for their non-professional conduct, the House strongly condemns such anchorpersons and demands of the owner of the media houses to expel them forthwith, besides taking other necessary actions,” said the resolution.

Before the passage of resolution, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza said the owners should take notice of “irresponsible” reporting, adding that some TV talk-shows portrayed parliamentarians like ‘criminals’ sitting in the House. “Parliament is the supreme institution and for the purpose to defend the parliamentarians, I am even ready to appear before the courts,” she said, adding that parliament would respect all the institutions, but it also expects the same from other institutions.

Earlier, Sheikh Waqas Akram, speaking on a point of order, strongly rejected the news published in a section of print media and a talk-show of a private TV channel challenging his education credentials.

He linked the campaign against him in a section of media with his bold stance against banned terrorist outfits. “The reporter of the particular newspaper and the anchorperson of the private TV channel have presented the same petition filed against me in a court by head of the banned terrorist organisation after I defeated him in the elections,” he said, adding that the reporter and the anchorperson were even unaware of the fact the court had already rejected that petition, “which was a bundle of lies.”

He also announced that he would issue legal notices to that anchorperson and that reporter for maligning him. He also urged the media to separate such “black sheep” from their ranks. Lawmakers from all the political parties including PPP, PML-Q, MQM, PML-N and ANP supported Akram, while condemning the ‘irresponsible’ reporting and ‘maligning’ parliamentarians.

Those spoke on the issue include PPP’s Ijaz Hussian Jhakrani, PML-Q’s Sardar Bahadar Sehr, PML-N’s Abdul Qadir Baloch, ANP’s Bushra Gohar, MQM’s Asif Hassnain and PML-Q like-minded’s Kashmala Tariq.

PPP’s Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor said a report published in a section of print media had highlighted that Rs 36 million electricity bills were outstanding against the residences of some parliamentarians including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker National Assembly and some ministers. He said the report was published in a leading daily despite a rebuttal sent by the National Assembly Secretariat.