ISLAMABAD – The accused in PTV sexual harassment scandal has filed a defamation suit against two female anchors who are also considering approaching the federal ombudsman for a ‘transparent’ inquiry.
The lawsuit of Current Affairs director Agha Masood Shorish, comes weeks after the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) slapped a ban on two of its female anchors for allegedly defaming the organisation after a matter of sexual harassment at workplace gained notoriety.
The women – Tanzeela Mazhar and Yashfeen Jamal – had shared their workplace sexual harassment experience on social media and other TV channels.
A five-member inquiry committee – consisting of officials from the PTV and the information and broadcasting ministry – started the probe in November 24 against current affairs director Agha Masood Shorish on the anchorpersons’ complaint.
According to the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010, the inquiry committee was bound to submit its findings and recommendations within 30 days of launching the inquiry. However, it submitted its report to the PTV managing director on January 26.
On January 20, the PTV management issued a circular saying that ‘certain’ PTV employees were using social media to comment on matters that were currently being inquired into officially.
“Such comments must be removed or deleted within 24 hours of issuance of the circular, failing which strict disciplinary action will be taken,” the circular read.
The two anchors, however, allegedly did not follow the instructions by the management and also talked about the matter on a talk show of local news channel.
As the debate about the issue continues on social media, the accused, Shorish has served a legal notice to the anchors for defaming him and his family.
“Our client’s family (specifically the daughter who recently got married) is under immense torture and mental agony because of your malicious campaign, which is continuing,” the suit stated.
It said the media campaign, vide public and social media including television and social media is highly reprehensible, immoral and unethical, the purpose of which is nothing but to tarnish the image of the accused and his family.
“The campaign has badly tarnished the image and lowered in the estimation of others exposing our client to unjust and unwarranted ridicule, criticism and dislike and hatred and as a result led to tremendous damage to the reputation of our client nationally and internationally,” it said.