Pemra termed powerless in Senate
ISLAMABAD: A legislator Tuesday charged in the Senate that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) was unable to perform its functions as a media regulator.
Senate Chairman, Mian Raza Rabbani, believed that Pemra possessed powers but it was selective and incompetent with regards to exercising the same.Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider said that he and Senator Karim Khawaja presented a memorandum to Pemra chairman and they came to the conclusion that the Authority was a powerless entity.
He claimed that they learnt that a private TV channel wanted to change its name but was not ready to pay Rs100,000 fee to the Authority despite spending millions of rupees on billboards to promote its channel’s new name.
The senator alleged that a media group was running six channels without licences and Pemra was helpless in this connection. He urged the Senate to ponder over the fact as to why Pemra was unable to do its job and the chairman might be summoned by the House committee concerned.
Another PPP Senator and former interior minister Rehman Malik was particularly unhappy over what he called certain TV channels’ smearing campaign against his party leadership and leaders of other parties.
He urged the government to call on Pemra to check content spreading hatred and provocative sentiments in the society. The senator added that certain private TV channels’ hosts also indulged in undermining the integrity of politicians.
The senator contended that being public representatives, legislators deserved respect.“I didn’t know that you can’t sleep even now without stories,” smilingly remarked the chair on hearing Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, who charged that the government was doing nothing in response to the issues they raised in the Senate and only told stories to the members.
Mashhadi said he could not sleep without these stories and added that by telling stories, the government could not feed people and resolve public issues.“Words we can’t eat and the rulers make promises only to break them,” Mashhadi alleged.
Senator Muhammad Ali Saif alleged that on the issuance of an order of Rs1,000, Bank Islami and KASB Bank were being amalgamated. On this, Senator Saeed Ghani claimed that not only this, the government was forcing the State Bank of Pakistan to release Rs16 billion to clear liabilities as well.