A new year brings with it a new audio leak, this time ARY News aired a purported conversation between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders Maryam Nawaz and Pervaiz Rashid wherein they are discussing the absence of the party's version in a Geo News programme Report Card.
Aaj Digital can't independently verify the authenticity of the audio. However, it allegedly dates back to the tenure of the PML-N rule.
In the leaked audio widely shared on social media, the then Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid tells Maryam to discuss an important matter with the management of the Report Card: "[Analyst] Hafeezullah Niazi who severly criticized Imran Khan [who was then in the opposition] in the programme is no more part of the show. His columns are also not being published in the newspaper."
"This is an injustice to us," Rashid can be heard telling Maryam in the leaked audio.
At this Maryam allegedly said: "In first I will ask them [the programme management] why they have removed Niazi from the panel."
However, Rasheed tells Maryam to also talk to Jang group's Mir Shakeel ur Rehman on the issue, saying "you [the programme's management] have removed a check [which was in the programme in the form of an analyst] on Imran Khan and now there are [in the programme] dogs [analysts] who bark on us."
During the conversation allegedly between the two leaders, they discussed other panelists of the programme, including Hassan Nisar, Irshad Bhatti, Babar Sattar and Mazhar Abbas.
"Nisar abuses us [the PML-N] and now they [the programme management] have appointed Irshad Bhatti as an analyst who is a mean person," Rashid can be allegedly heard saying in the audio leak.
He further said: "Mazhar Abbas's analysis has tilt against the PML-N as well as criticism [on the party]. At times he makes fun of us [the PML-N] by spinning the words.
"No analyst in the programme is spokesperson of the PML-N," Rashid allegedly told Maryam.
Rashid further said: "Babar Sattar has his independent opinion." At which Maryam said, "he [Babar Sattar] doesn't speak in our [PML-N's] favour."
However, the former information minister noted "he [Babar Sattar] does not vilify and his argument do not have immoral words. But it can't be said that he considers the point of view of our [PML-N's] party."
The conversation between the two is then briefly interrupted by another voice allegedly of Maryam saying "Abbu Jaan [Nawaz Sharif] has brought two baskets from Azerbaijan which will be sent to [journalist] Nusrat Javed and Rana Jawad."
Currently, Jawad is the Geo News Director in Islamabad.
The issue has reignited a debate on media bias and partialilty with many people seeing this as a vindication that the Geo group is against the sitting government.
However, as independent journalist Umar Cheema points out, the new leak only shows that even the PML-N was unhappy about a lack of representation of their view point on Geo, showing that the channel is not under anyone's influence.
Meanwhile, state information minister Farrukh Habib said PML-N had vast experience and expert of blackmailing and controlling freedom of media.
He said the PML-N always kept the media under pressure to use it for their vested interests.
Last year in November, an audio leak of Maryam came to surface in which she talked about refusing advertisements to certain news channels during the PML-N tenure. Maryam admitted that the audio was genuine.