Poor reporting exposes Reuters- invites anger
Newspapers and news agencies have the duty and privilege to seek and report the truth, not only this but it is also known for making public opinion specially those who operate globally and carry a credible name over decades.
Have you ever thought what if the newspapers and agencies don’t do justice to their name and duties? What if they are making wrong public opinion? What if we aren’t even getting close to real facts?
All these questions started popping up after one reads an article written by Ms. MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK from Reuters i.e. ‘Pakistan’s long awaited 3G, 4G auction draws dismal response’. The article sets an example of poor reporting and how sometime people publish news without even confirming the facts. The worst part is when it carries a respected and credible name such as that of Reuters.
The article highlights the response of sealed bid of the ongoing 3G/4G bidding, that is expected to take place on 23rd April, a week from now describing it as dismal. The writer somehow did not even understood the process and dynamics of the auction before trying to making sensational comments to discredit an otherwise transparent and smooth auction process that is very close to the hearts of the consumers in Pakistan. Some of these unsound comments made based on quoting unreliable source such as;
Selling just 3G licenses could raise $2 billion, and bundling them with 4G spectrum could generate between $4 billion and $5 billion, finance minister Ishaq Dar had estimated
While, PTA and the Ministry have already officially denied having even said something close to this, people who understand the industry and Ishaq Dar, the finance minister himself must be laughing his head off at the illusive and cooked statement. The budgeted figure set for the proceed is Pak Rs. 120 Bn.
The writer also reported that:
Telecom companies Mobilink and Zong bid for 10 MHz Telenor and Ufone both bid for 5 MHz spectrum
According to PTA’s Information Memorandum (IM), no operators can bid for 5 MHz spectrum, the operators have to bid for 10 MHz spectrum and it is up to PTA to split the bandwidth depending upon the receipt of the seal bids. The option of 5 MHz while may exist but is the least expected. Additionally, the bids are quite confidential and no one could leak out such information. The mare fact that the information is factually incorrect, points toward the poor judgment of the writer or probably understanding of the whole auction process.
Another statement attributed to a so called source in the Ministry is:
there has been scant interest in Monday’s bidding process and estimate Pakistan will raise no more than $850 million
This statement is rationally and logically incorrect, as four companies have already (as per PTA web site) expressed their confirmed interest in the auction. While, the minimal base price for 2100 MHz is now confirmed from the sealed bids which comes to around USD 885 Million (for the 30 MHz Spectrum of 2100 MHz). The two 4G licenses of 10 MHz each may also be sold out for 1800 MHz i.e. a total of lowest price of $420 million. PTA has categorically denied that it has not received any proposal for the 1800 MHz. These licenses of 3G and 4G if sold at even base price add up to $1.3 Billion, which makes the assertion of the writer really questionable and incorrect.
The most sensational was the statement again attributed to the Finance Minister
The finance minister (Ishaq Dar) is very angry, so much so that he wants to call off the auction
The finance minister has totally denied having ever said this. Infact, the Ministry of Finance has even clarified that the PTA and not the finance ministry has the prerogative to decide how to carry the auction and what they decide.
The column has indicated Warid absence from the auction also as a failure and said that
Only 4 out of 5 cellular mobile companies operating in Pakistan had submitted bids
While it is true but unfortunately the writer forgot to mention (or maybe was unaware of the fact) that Warid was never in the race for the auction for the very reason that until very recently it was itself on sale. Why would a company invest more in a business it is planning to sell, #commonsense.
Another statement that tried to make it case was
No new entrant showed up
People who know Pakistan’s telecom industry is well aware that the chances of a new player in this competitive market is very exceptional. Pakistan’s telecom industry is already served by the world four largest telecom giants namely, China Mobile – biggest telecom company of China, Vimplecom – the king of Russian telecom market, Etisalat – leads the Middle East market and Telenor– a 100 year old that leads European market. In this scenario, there was probably less only 2% chance that any new entrant could have showed up.
All the above indicate that writer has done a very poor job in finding the facts or even tried to look for one in trying to make its case which makes the article very dubious. The sad part was that some local media followed the news without even confirming it from the regulator or anyone close to the mobile industry. It is our duty as responsible media to dig out the truth rather than just COPY/PASTING.