Accountability court grants remand of 3 PTCL officials: Rs141m project scamSound familiar?
07 March 2004 Sunday 15 Muharram 1425
ISLAMABAD, March 6: An accountability court on Saturday granted a 15-day physical remand of three PTCL officials involved in the Rs141 million Built and Operate (BT) project scam. Among the officials is member telecommunication in the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Nooruddin Baqai.
The accountability judge, Mohammad Aslam Khan, adjourned the proceedings for March 20 with a direction to the authorities to produce ex-chief engineer (Private Sector Project PTCL headquarters) Nooruddin Baqai, ex-divisional accounts officer BT project Islamabad Rehmat Ali Sajid and ex-divisional engineer Asmatullah Khan on the next date of hearing. The three accused were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) late Friday night.
The BT project contract was signed between China Wanbao/ZTE and PTCL on October 17, 1998 under which 305,000 digital telephone lines would be installed.
Read all about ZTE in Pakistan
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Say... did you hear the news about Raphael the Archangel? Blackshama has the word on the official Patron of the Desperately Dateless on Valentines Day. Meanwhile Dr. Emer unwittingly promotes Trouble with his advice of what to do when romance fades: try something new.
I knew it! Ivan About Town is not about backpacking and trekking and all that hard grunting stuff at all!
The Village Idiot Savant meditates on the Buddha, via a spider's tale, adjudging him aloof because he lacks the dimension of compassion and forgiveness that Jesus Christ represents. But I think the comparison is better reserved for Yahweh, the old jealous, fiery, demanding King Lear character of the Old Testament. Now there's a Divine Curmudgeon for you!
An OFW in Hong Kong suggests we attend the anti-GMA rally in Makati City today. The Black and White Movement agrees with the Makati Business Club: "It's the beginning of the end."
The Belmont Club warns of a future Islamic Republic of America and various ominous signs of the times. ("Ontario looks to replace the Lord's Prayer... Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski heads for Damascus at a tense time. Saudi Arabia prepares to execute a woman for witchcraft.") I guess not if John McCain has anything to say about it, as he has never lacked for audacity. But he's gonna have to say it a lot better than the two time Grammy Award winner Barack Obama.
PNP Chief Avelino Razon has just told ABSCBN News that the ASSASSINATION PLOT against President Arroyo comes from the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah. But asked if the Police are going on Red Alert, he said nonchalantly, "NO, just heightened alert." (I guess the Red Alert is reserved for the Makati rally).
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If the charges of Jun Lozada of a massive overprice are true, it is highly improbable that the Philippines NBN and Pakistan's PTCL are the only cases in which ZTE has been involved in the same highly suspicious relationship with powerful persons in two countries whose official corruption stats are legendary and mythical. Know any others?
On the ongoing debate over the limits of Press Freedom
1987 Bill of Rights Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
CHECHE LAZARO talked about scoops, sensationalism and competitiveness on Media in Focus with Manuel L. Quezon III, Vergel O. Santos, Ricky Carandang and Dana Batnag of Jiji Press.
Ms. Batnag professes not to understand why many of her usual news and information sources have suddenly dried up. But when she and the rest of the journalists who refused to obey police instructions to get out of the way at the Manila Pen, they BECAME a PART of the STORY itself, especially after they got arrested. I frankly think they were lucky not to be charged with obstruction of justice, or worse, if someone had gotten hurt or killed.
MLQ3 and V.O. Santos both believe that Press Freedom and the duty of journalists to inform the Public should have the highest imaginable priority among public rights and duties, (even over that of the Police in dangerous, life-threatening situations.) The Public's Right to Know is often cited by Press Freedom supremacists as the thing whose satisfaction is indispensable to Freedom itself. Unfortunately, the Public wants to know not only things like the Truth, but also lies, fiction, gossip, movie schedules, obits, entertainment, sports, lotto results, ads and commercials.
So, isn't it obvious?
Press Freedom is really the right to buy and sell information. And not just the Truth, but anything that can be bought and sold for a price set by supply and demand in the marketplace of ideas and sense impressions. TV, print and radio are like toll roads that transport and deliver that information to the general public. It is only reasonable that a fee be charged for such a service as satisfying the Public's right to know whatever the heck the Public wants to know or to experience.
I think the important lesson arising out of the Manila Pen incident is that a HIERARCHY of rights, duties and powers must be recognized and respected. The Mass Media's right of press freedom and their duty to inform the public (as well as to entertain, inspire and educate, in exchange for a reasonable, market-driven fee) cannot possibly be higher in that hierarchy than the right to life and security of police whose duty is to enforce the laws and arrest the lawbreakers.