Senate body asks govt to implement media’s code in 10 days
Discussing the status of electronic media’s code of conduct under the chairmanship of Kamil Ali Agha, Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage (IB&NH) on Tuesday asked the Information Ministry to take steps for the code’s implementation within 10 days.
Information Secretary Muhammad Azam told the committee that the bill had been sent to the National Assembly and its implementation was being delayed because the government wanted to reach consensus on the matter. The ministry has held meeting with Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and the next meeting is due on June 11, he added.
Azam said the bill had been sent to the Cabinet Division which would get it approved from the federal cabinet before its implementation. He also gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the working of the ministry. Among others, the meeting was attended by SassiPalejo, SaeedGhani, IqbalZafarJhagra, Farhatullah Babar, KhushbakhtShujaat, Rubina Khalid, NehalHashmi, SalahuddinTirmizi and Rozi Khan Kakar.
Concerned over the delay, committee chairman Agha said that there was no justification to wait for the input of those stakeholders who “did not bother coming forward” when the bill was being discussed.
On the occasion, the committee also asked the government to explain its position over the letter written to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for suspension of Bol TV’s transmission.
The committee was informed that the said letter was issued after consultation with the legal advisers of the ministry. As the directors of Axact and Bol were the same, the government issued the letter to “save the country’s image”, the government replied.
Moreover, it said that Bol TV’s directors were “given security clearance in haste” and it did not fulfil legal requirements for equipment’s import. Some of the committee members opined that coverage of Axact’s issue on satellite TV channels was earning a bad name for the country.
The committee observed that recently more TV channels had started airing foreign dramas in violation of PEMRA laws. They claimed that no satellite TV channel was airing any children-specific programme.