ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Monday made public a list of journalists and media persons who were allegedly paid by the information ministry through its secret fund.
The list contains itemised particulars of those expenditures for which the information ministry now does not claim privilege or secrecy.
The list of disbursements, totaling up to Rs 177.98 million, was uploaded on the apex court’s website in accordance to its directive issued earlier during the day.
The apex court had also ordered for the list to be made public on its website.
The journalists named in the list are yet to respond to the list.
This is the first time that any such list has come into light as in the past the secret fund of the information ministry was never made public.
Another list of payments and gifts was expected to be made public later.
The order of the SC came during the hearing of the case pertaining to petitions file by two private television channel anchors who had requested the court to probe the matter of media accountability and payments made to journalists by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP)- led government in 2011-2012.
Earlier last year, the court had begun its probe and sought information and froze the funds of the information ministry after the petitioners had sought a probe and requested an end to the secret funds of the information ministry.
The information ministry had then denied the allegations.
Later this year, the apex court found out that that the federal information ministry had distributed gifts worth millions from its secret funds among a few journalists during the year 2011-12.
The court had later also learnt that former prime minister Raja Parvez Ashraf had approved on March 16, the last date of his government, a summary sanctioning payment of over Rs1.32 billion for media campaigns.