No compromise on independence of electronic media: Pemra chief
Says it could not be determinedyet who was behind the change in numbers of leading channel
KARACHI: Independence of the electronic media is our bounden duty, and we shall never allow it to be compromised. This assurance was given by the Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Absar Alam, at a local hotel.
He said this at a press conference immediately after his meeting with the representatives of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Pakistan Broadcasting Authority (PBA) and certain representatives of electronic media.
However, Absar Alam said, “We also expect the media to abide by the rules and regulations and refrain from violating the code of conduct laid down by Pemra.”The Pemra chief said that what was really important was for the channels to go strictly by the code of conduct set by the regulatory authority.
He stressed that no channel had any right to accuse any other channel of wrongdoing or violation of norms without solid proof. Absar Alam said that Pemra would take action against this too. “For us, all the TV channels are equal, and all are equal before the law. We treat them all equally,” he said.
Questioned about the recent downgrading of a leading private sector channel on placement, he explained that the Pemra law was very clear on the issue. He said that there were bouquets of channels. Sports channels had to be put in one bouquet. News channels in another and so on.
When pressed by media persons as to why then the channel had been placed at another number, he replied that Pemra had not been able to determine who had done this. “We are looking into the matter,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned, the channel is in a fixed bouquet, and we just have not been able to determine as to which entity caused this.”
Referring to the confusion over Geo’s placement, he said that he thought he’d come to Karachi to clarify matters.Absar Alam said that Pemra had been negotiating with the licence holders to mitigate their complaints. As for security of the channel employees, he said that Pemra was considering laws to enforce financial and service security of employees.