The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) wants to muzzle the Bol Media Group and all its channels. The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) – where the same faces run the show who call shots at the PBA – has the same agenda and is urging the government to ensure that the Bol Group remains barred from launching its Urdu, English and various regional language newspapers.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government is obliging the media owners by spearheading an unprecedented campaign of victimisation in an attempt to choke and destroy the Bol Group.
The PML-N government and its allied, lackey media’s bitter opposition to the Bol Group is understandable. They are all afraid of this new, committedly pro-Pakistan voice. They are all afraid of the Bol Group’s ability and capacity to revolutionise the media industry. After all, in the shortest span of time and against all odds, the Bol Group has already established the most modern, technologically-advanced and biggest media infrastructure in Pakistan.
It is already providing employment to more than 2,000 media workers and going forward, it will create hundreds of more jobs as it launches newspapers and other media ventures.
Therefore, the country’s media establishment and the Nawaz Sharif government have only one mission, one agenda; to stop Bol – at any cost, by hook or by crook.
In May 2015, these forces joined hands to prevent the launch of the Bol Group’s first news channel by targeting its owners on false charges of running a scam of fake degrees through their IT Company, Axact, on the basis of a planted story in an American newspaper.
But after 15 months of a witch-hunt, a victimisation drive, arrests, illegal and forced closure of businesses and freezing of bank accounts, the prosecution failed to prove any of the charges against Axact in a court of law.
Axact bounced back and resumed operations with a bang in October 2016, while Bol News formally launched its transmission on December 25 – the same year.
By May 2017, the anti-Bol Group forces again hatched a conspiracy. This time, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) – a tool in the hands of the government and a couple of media owners – issued an illegal order to revoke the licenses of the Bol Group channels by wrongfully claiming that its owners do not have a security clearance. The group’s channels – Bol News and Pak News – were pulled off cable networks within an hour of the order, while its link with Pak Sat was also terminated.
The irony of the situation was that the order came on May 3, when the rest of the world marks Press Freedom Day. This underlines the Sharif government’s disdain for press freedom and all democratic values. The Sindh High Court suspended PEMRA’s illegal order the very next day, but the attack on the Bol Group manifests the dangers to the independent media and freedom of expression in Pakistan.
The government and commercial interest groups can clearly go to any length to destroy and muzzle the competition and a dissenting voice.
Since the former military-led government of President Pervez Musharraf opened up the electronic media for the private sector, dozens of players have entered the market. But none faced the kind of resistance and persecution as faced by the Bol Group.
The question is why the PML-N government and its allied media want to destroy the Bol Group? For them, there are many selfish reasons to do so.
PML-N stalwarts know that while they can get leverage over other media houses, by obliging them with the government advertisements and other underhand benefits, they cannot do so with the Bol Media Group, which is committed to adhere to the highest standards of independent and honest journalism. The Bol Media Group is a voice of dissent and will continue to expose all the wrongdoings and betrayals to the national causes by the rulers and their rich, powerful and foreign-connected media allies.
The Bol Media Group believes in supporting Pakistan’s Armed Forces at a time when they are the target of a defamation campaign by the foreign powers – including Pakistan’s main enemy India – and their local allies in politics, media and business circles. The ultimate aim is to weaken Pakistan’s most disciplined, organised, patriotic and modern institution, which is resisting their designs in the region.
The Bol Media Group prides itself on speaking out loudly and boldly about State-sponsored Indian terrorism in Kashmir and Indian interference and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. Our group remains committed to defeat the Indian cultural invasion and promote Pakistan and its culture – come what may.
Our group wants to re-emphasise the ideology of Pakistan and the two-nation theory which is being deliberately erased from the national narrative by vested commercial and political interests.
The so-called old media owners – a couple of whom are also in league with anti-Pakistan foreign powers – see the Bol Group as a force which can counter their narrative that aims to undermine State institutions, the unity of Pakistan and promote India and its culture.
The Bol Media Group has introduced the most modern and state-of-the-art technologies in the media industry and is known for its world class work environment. It also takes pride in setting a new benchmark in Pakistan through its pro-worker HR policies and offering packages and benefits which beat the existing market rates. Other media owners, instead of improving their game and fair competition, have opted to hatch conspiracies against Bol so that they can continue to exploit their workers through low salaries, which are usually not paid on time, and forcing them to work in bad and inhuman conditions.
The Bol Group reiterates that it will remain committed to its ideals despite all the unfair and illegal government crackdowns and the nefarious propaganda campaigns run by rivals. The more they attack us, the more it strengthens our resolve to stay the course. At the Bol Group, we keep Pakistan first.