PTV supporting Pervez Musharraf

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Peshawar, Feb 7 : A Global media watchdog has claimed that Pakistan Television (PTV) is giving more coverage time to parties supporting President Pervez Musharraf and the caretaker federal Government.

Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) stated in a report released on Wednesday that Musharraf and his allies were subject of 84.9 per cent of the reports, interviews and political analysis on four daily news programmes monitored from January 28 to February 2.

The RSF calculated airtime allotted to various parties in the news programmes broadcast at 10 am, 12 am, 6 pm and 9 pm with the maximum number of viewers.

Out of six days of monitoring, PML-Q and its allies were given 46 minutes as compared to a combined 40 minutes of the two main opposition parties (28 minutes for the PML-N and 12 minutes for the PPP).

"Their percentage shares show a clear bias. 17.4 per cent for the PML-Q, 10.5 per cent for the PML-N and 4.6 per cent for the PPP," RSF report said.

The RSF report also said that the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had only received 30 seconds from January 28 to February 2, while the pro-autonomy parties of Balochistan and the Pashtun regions got no mention at all.

It claimed that in addition to airtime bias, comments accompanying the reports were also positive about PML-Q and tone used for reports on the opposition parties was more neutral.

"We cover the political parties when they have activities and the PML-Q organises more events than the others. We have a programme on the elections in the afternoon in which everyone has a chance to speak. Then, in the news programmes, we concentrate on the leading politicians," the Daily Times quoted PTV staff member, as saying.

There are no precise rules about allocation of airtime during the campaign from the Election Commission, RSF said.

Earlier, RSF had identified PTV's "lack of neutrality" as one of the five major problems to be resolved before the elections.

ANI

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