Pemra discusses ways to improve relations with media
ISLAMABAD: The first-ever joint meeting of all Pemra Councils of Complaints (CoCs) was held with the chairman Pemra on Monday at Pemra Headquarters Islamabad, as council members urged for strict control on religious and sectarian content.
The participants vehemently denounced the ‘glorification’ of crime and gory scenes by various television channels in the name of enactment and called for taking serious note of it. The chairpersons and members of Pemra Councils of Complaints Karachi, Multan, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad gathered to share their experiences, suggestions and impediments in discharging their obligations and to find out way forward to improve the media and Pemra relationship and how effectively to implement code of conduct so as to address the rising number of public complaints against news and entertainment TV channels. All senior Pemra management was also present in the meeting.
Greeting the participants, chairman Pemra said that he was trying to take media owners and media persons on board in implementing the law and code of conduct and so far response of all stakeholders was very positive and encouraging. He said all stakeholders believe that media can only protect its credibility if it adheres to professional ethics and law of the land.
To achieve all these objectives, he said, the onus lied on the collective wisdom of these councils which have credible and learned names as members of all the CoCs. The chairman said that role and importance of Council of Complaints is increasing day by day due to impetus of private electronic media and similarly the decisions of the Councils have stupendous impact on defining the future course of media.
During the open debate, the Council members drew attention of the house towards non-implementation of Code of Ethics and salary issues of working journalists. They urged Pemra for strict control on religious, sectarian content which may likely to fan or incite disharmony or that may cause unrest in the society.
Participants denounced glorification of crimes and gory scenes on media and demanded Pemra to put control on re-enactment and crime shows which are indirectly promoting the crimes in the society.
They also noted that Pemra has started to assert its role as a regulator which is a healthy sign. They also extended their complete support for Pemra management to pursue this vision and to help all the stakeholders in ensuring the exercise of professional TV journalism.
For swift disposal of public complaints, the Council members asked for suo-moto powers and proposed that the complainants may lodge complaints directly to them even through mobile phone SMS. For this purpose, participants urged massive awareness campaign for the general public as well as media persons to abreast them with code of ethics and how to lodge a complaint and follow it up.
It was also proposed that Pemra may engage students of Journalism and Mass Communication and concerned universities for raising awareness about Pemra laws and the Council of Complaints. Participants also pointed out resurge in illegal FM Radios in some parts of KP, Fata and Balochistan, reportedly being operated by fanatic elements and demanded action against those through concerned agencies.
The Council members urged that all TV channels should air public service messages as per provisions of Pemra laws which is 10% of their daily broadcast to raise public awareness about social issues e.g. crimes against women and children, religious disharmony, prudent use of natural resources, education and health etc.
All COCs members were particularly concerned about the rising unhealthy trend of re-enactment of crimes which they said is giving ideas to criminals to use different tactics during their criminal activities. They asked Pemra to engage stakeholders to educate media and journalists in order to contain perils in media like vulgarity / obscenity, excessive foreign / Indian content, re-enactment & dramatisation of crimes and direction-less morning shows. Participants demanded end to objectionable advertisements of quacks, Hakeems and spiritual healers on FM Radios.
Concluding the meeting, the chairman appreciated the valuable input from learned Council members and ensured them to take all possible measures to address the impending issues and challenges of Pemra.
Shamim Hamayun, Chairperson (COC Islamabad), Dr. Maqsood Jafri and Dr. Shah Jahan Syed, members COC Islamabad, Dr. Mehdi Hassan, Chairperson (CoCs, Lahore), Dr. Mubasher Nadeem, Ms. Fauzia Viqar, Ms. Lubna Zaheer, Ms. Sughra Sadaf and Iftikhar Ahmed Tarar, members COC Lahore, Professor Inam Bari, Chairperson (CoCs, Karachi), Mrs. Hoori Noorani, Mrs. Lal Majid, Members COCs Sindh, Justice (R) Farrukh Mahmood, Chairperson (CoCs Multan), Mrs. Zahra Sajjad Zaidi, Prof. (R) Farkhanda Mumtaz, Dr. Shabbir Baloch, Dr. Mujahid Ali and Atta Muhammad Khan Baloch, members COCs Multan, Shakeel Chander, Chairperson (CoCs KP), Mrs. Farah Sultan Ashraf, Abdus Sattar Khan, Muhammad Irshad, Mrs. Farah Khan and Syed Hammad Hussain Shah, members COC KP, Prof. Agha Muhammad Nasir, Chairperson (CoCs Quetta), Mir Attaullah, Musa Khan Kakar, Doctor Rashida Panezai, members COC Quetta were present in the meeting.