Right to Know

Disclosure of Ertugurl Drama’s agreement could damage Pak-Turkey ties, PTV

ISLAMABAD: Disclosure of the agreement signed between Pakistan’s national television – Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) – and Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) regarding the broadcasting of Turkish drama “Dirilis Ertugral” can damage the interest of Pakistan in the conduct of international relations with Turkey.

In October 2021, this scribe, under the Right of Access to Information Act, requested PTV to provide a copy of the agreement signed between PTV and TRT World for the broadcast of Turkish drama serial “Dirillis Ertugrul”.

PTV was also requested to information about total revenue generated from the YouTube channel created particularly for this drama serial, with details of the shares of TRT World and PTV in revenue generated by YouTube, and revenue generated through advertisements aired during the time slot of drama serial “Dirillis Ertugrul”.

In pursuance of the appeal filed by this scribe in Pakistan Information Commission (PIC), a hearing was held in December 2021 in PIC. PTV submitted its response to PIC which states that the requested information is exempted from disclosure under clause 16(d)(ii) and (iii) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

The response states that after disclosure, the agreement may go into the hands of the spoilers who could misuse the same and cause damage to the interest of Pakistan in conduct to international relations with brother Islamic Country Turkey.

It is further added that as per clause 4.7.5 of the agreement “All terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential” hence confidential terms of the agreement could not be provided to anyone at any cost including the appellant.

PTV response “available with The Reporters” further states that Dirillis Ertugrul has set a record of the biggest hit of Television Industry not only in Pakistan but world over and sharing its business can cause serious harm to PTV in many ways.

This scribe has submitted its response to the Pakistan Information Commission stating that mere reference to an exemption clause in the agreement do not declare the whole document as classified. PIC should decide whether the disclosure of all requested information can damage interest of Pakistan in context of International relations or not.

In April 2020, the 179-episode drama series—whose original title is Dirilis: Ertugrul—was dubbed into Urdu and was aired on national television PTV on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.


Saddia Mazhar

Saddia Mazhar is an investigative journalist based at Sahiwal. She writes on environment, marginalized community, governance and rule of law. She tweets at @SaddiaU


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