‘Absence of clear-cut policy complicating Pemra, media relations’
Karachi: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) only responsibility was to manage the electronic medium and not control it, said acting chairman Pemra, Kamaluddin Tipu, on Tuesday while referring to the authority’s recent attempts to get media channels to abide by the existing laws.
Speaking at a lecture titled ‘Media Ethics’, organised at the Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), Tipu informed there were currently only 18 laws but there was no concrete media policy. The absence of which had led to complications between the role of the authority and the electronic media channels.
The stakeholders had so far been unable to build a consensus on a code of conduct for media given the varied interests of the viewers, he added.
According to him, the Pemra was clear on the set of rules to be followed which included upholding the country’s national interests, norms, values, personal and social rights, beliefs and denouncing terrorism besides other matters related to the country.
Tipu also acknowledged the media and judiciary’s rise to prominence in the last 15 years. Apprising the audience of the current state of affairs of Pakistani media, he claimed there were 91 satellite television channels, 199 FM radio stations and landing rights for 25 foreign channels.
There was a current cumulative investment of $3.5 billion which would hopefully rise to $4 billion till December, 2015, he claimed.
“The electronic media has generated about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for the people of the country.”
SMIU Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh while addressing the audience said there was only one channel in Pakistan before 2002, but after it, an independent media emerged which benefited almost all sections of the society.
Prior to the emergence of private electronic media, about half of the population had no access to information and entertainment except radio channels and the state television network PTV. “The change has made the masses more aware of their surroundings,” Shaikh opined.
He further claimed that despite the change, electronic media lacks professionally trained manpower as a result of the channels had been unable to produce quality content and had also failed to uphold ethical and moral values. “On the contrary, the print media is balanced as it continues to follow rules set years ago.”