Decision on new private radio television channels soon: Jabbar
ISLAMABAD- Adviser to the Chief Executive on Information Javed Jabbar said Pakistan was on the threshold of a new communication era as the government would shortly take a decision on allowing private radio and TV channels within a clearly defined framework. “We are on the edge of taking some basic decisions on allowing private channels, we consider airwaves as national, natural assets open to use by everyone, of course, within a defined framework,” he stated at a seminar on “Regional radio communication.”
The five-day seminar, jointly organised by the International Telecommunication Union and Pakistan Telecom Authority, is being attended by experts from a range of Asian and Western countries. Jabbar said this age of fast paced communication and decentralisation, people’s access to this technology empowers them. The adviser expressed the confidence the Pakistani people will use the national airwaves judiciously.
‘The chief executive is the first head of the government to have referred to the possibility of allowing private channels in his very first address on Oct 17, 1999. The adviser said the government’s policy on electronic media also contradicts the myth that the military-led governments are not democratic. “In fact, we are more democratic than many political parties, but that does not mean that we are here to stay longer, we are only reforming the democratic institutions so that the mistakes committed in the past are not repeated.”
Jabbar said for the next few years telecommunication will remain a federal subject as it, involves national implications as well as inter-provincial elements. The adviser underlined the need to “de-mystify telecommunication and massify its use among people without endangering PTC’s national role.”
He said Pakistan has a low tele-density and there is a tremendous scope for increasing people’s access in telecommunfcation facilities including telephones. “Access to telecommunication is being increasingly recognised as a fundamental right of the people because of the nature of rapid urbanisation, as families are scattered at different place and then their usage also helps in facing calamities and emergencies.”
Jabbar told reporters later the new News and Current Affairs TV channel, to be launched shortly, will also beam programmes in major international languages including Chinese. “The new channel, will telecast multi-lingua1 news and current affairs programmes in languages including Chinese, Arabic and Hindi and above all it will have the language of the truth.” The government, he said, will soon decide the date for launching the 24-hour satellite channel. Jabbar said the government is for increasing Pakistani electronic media’s access in the region as well as the world beyond. As part of this resolve, he said, Radio Pakistan has already started airing news in Nepalese and Sinhalese languages.
The adviser said the government has initiated a study to enhance the financial status of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. “The government is extending Rs 700 million to Radio Pakistan which is an institution of national security.” In addition, we are also considering a range of options including that of licensee fees to increase the channel’s revenues.” Replying to a question, he said Radio Pakistan is already broadcasting programmes in as many 20 dialects of the country.
Source: The News