Ban on adds extended to private channels
ISLAMABAD – The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on November 19, decided to extend the scope of ban on advertisements of smoking and tobacco to all the private electronic channels. “Ban on smoking and tobacco advertisements through PTV will not only continue to be intact but it is being extended to the private channels as well,” said the Chairman of the Committee, Nisar A Memon while summing up the meeting held here in the Parliament House.
He said the scope of the ban has been extended because of the serious effects of smoking on human health following a strong recommendation of the Ministry of Health.
The members who attended the meeting included, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Senators, Khalil-ur-Rehman Acting Chairman Senate, Mrs. Gulshan Saeed, Tariq Azeem Khan, Mrs. Tanvir Khalid, Syed Dilawar Abbas, Mrs. Tahira Latif, Asfandyar Wali, Haji Liaquat Ali Bangulzai and Minister of State for Health Mrs. Shehnaz Sheikh.
The committee recommended that the Ministries of Health, Commerce and Trade should prepare a comprehensive report for further extension of the ban to the print media as well.
The meeting unanimously pleaded that an across the board ban should be clamped on all types of advertisements of cigarettes.
The concerned Ministries were asked to submit their report within two weeks so that the matter could be disposed off as soon as possible.
It was also decided that meeting of the committee would be held after every six-weeks and its date would be finalised with the consultation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The chair advised Pemra to take appropriate measures and ensure that private TV channels completely observe the ban to safeguard the public health.
The meeting advised the Ministry of Health to strictly comply with the Cabinet decisions and stop issuing any advertisement to any channel. Rather, it asserted, the Ministry should carry out vigorous anti-smoking campaign in consultation with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through public sector channel.
Earlier, the Director General Health gave detailed briefing highlighting the hazardous effects of smoking on general health pleading continuation of ban on its advertisement.
He said the countries where there is complete ban on tobacco and its products, have registered considerable decrease in the cigarette smoking.
The Chairman Pakistan Tobacco Company who attended the meeting on special invitation of the chair also opposed the lifting of ban on the advertisements as the major cigarette manufacturers around the globe have decided not to go for massive campaign of smoking.
During the briefing on PTV affairs, the Managing Director PTV Arshad Khan said it would become a profit earning organisation by this financial year end (June 30).
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the board of directors of PTV would be reconstituted following the recommendations of the committee. The new board of directors, the minister said, would also comprise the elected members of the Parliament besides technocrats and economists.
The committee appreciated the efforts of PTV towards making it a financially viable organisation by taking numerous corrective steps.
The committee was also brief on Pemra performance.
The members of the committee took keen interest in the working of the Ministry and suggested a number of steps to help make its different organisations more vibrant and work-oriented.
Secretary Information Shahid Rafi, Additional Secretary Ahsan Yousaf, Director General APP Fazal ur Rehman Malik, Principal Information Officer Akram Shaheedi, and senior officers of the Ministry also were present.
Source: Business Recorder