January 08, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) has termed the raid on its secretariat in Karachi by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) “an attempt to suppress media and curb freedom of expression by using strong arm tactics and putting pressure on the parent electronic media body.”
“The CCP officials entered the premises of PBA secretariat and took away all the important original record and documents without assigning any reasonable grounds or by giving any prior information or warning,” PBA said in a statement.
However a CCP statement says it decided to inspect the PBA “after evaluating prima facie documentary evidence, including rules and regulations of PBA, suggesting that PBA may be in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act by taking commercial decisions - such as setting the commission rates for advertising agencies and operating a central payment clearance system on behalf of its members - that may affect competition in the advertising industry.”
It adds that all legal requirements for the “inspection” were fulfilled. “On arrival…the PBA officials were provided with a copy of the authorization and the reasons for conducting the inspection. The premises were then inspected in the presence of PBA officials and an inventory list of the impounded record was provided to them.”
Elaborating the CCP said the inspection follows “the initiation of a formal inquiry into the matter by CCP under Section 37 of the Competition Act”, adding that this inspection will “serve as a fact-finding exercise to determine whether there is any substance in the prima facie allegations. It said PBA will be “afforded an opportunity to present their views and to assist the inquiry before any conclusion is reached in light of the available evidence.”
However, the PBA has urged the prime minister to take immediate steps against the commission’s highhandedness.