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Rashid addresses press on match row today

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Sheikh Rashid Ahmed will address a press conference here at PID at 5 pm on Sunday.

The minister will talk about the controversy regarding the live coverage of the ongoing one-day cricket series between New Zealand and Pakistan.

Meanwhile talking to APP in Lahore on Saturday, Managing Director PTV Akhtar Waqar Azeem said that Geo TV’s backing out of the contract deprived millions of viewers from watching live the first one-day international cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand on Saturday.

He said it was unfair that Geo TV backed out of the contract in the last minute, causing a lot of confusion and ultimately not televising the match.

The PTV and Geo TV signed a contract, which stated that Geo would provide all the technical assistance and cooperation to the PTV for the live coverage of the matches.

“It was surprising for us that all of a sudden Geo backed out of its promise without any intimation, jeopardising our plans for the live coverage of the match and hence depriving viewers throughout the country,” he said.

“How can we telecast the match in a situation when we were supposed to be assisted by Geo in technical matters and their backing out of the contract and agreement has put us in an embarrassing situation,” he maintained. Highlighting the contribution of PTV for the cause of sports and specially cricket, the PTV chief said it was serving its viewers since 1967 with the live coverage of the matches, besides making arrangements for televising the matches from abroad.

“It is for the first time that we are not showing live coverage of an international match and Geo should be blamed for that as it failed to honour its commitment,” he said.

Azeem said PTV viewership can be judged from the fact its signals are reaching every part of the country and also around the globe. It was catering to the needs of 90 per cent viewers of the country, whereas Geo’s viewership is restricted to only 5 to 7 per cent, he added.

To a question, he said he did not know whether the remaining four matches of the series would be televised live, as Geo was still ignoring its commitment.

“We are keen to televise the matches but it is only possible if Geo follows the contract,” he added.

The Chief Executive, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ramiz Raja described the whole scenario as disappointing. “It is disappointing but the PCB is not responsible and we did try to mediate to our best,” said Raja.

He hoped the matter would be resolved in time for the viewers to see the exciting cricket.

Source: The News

Date:11/30/2003

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