Government decides to allow private radio, television channels
ISLAMABAD- Adviser to the Chief Executive on Information Javed Jabbar in a consultative meeting said that the government was for evolving a framework that would ensure of expression in the electronic media as well as guard the country’s supreme interest. He was concluding a consultative meeting attended by leading media personnel. The meeting after five hours of in-depth discussion reached a consensus on the need to allow private radio and television channels.
“There was a clear consensus on the need to evolve a system for the introduction of radio and TV channels in the private sector and at the same time protect our national interested in the face of media posture in the region, he said. Javed Jabbar said private radio and TV charnels could be set up at national, provincial and community levels. He said the meeting agreed that the private radio and TV channels would be allowed to work in the framework of imperatives of national security, solidarity and overall national interests. “The government of General Pervaiz Musharraf fully believes in the freedom of expression, but at the same time Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the media posture adopted by a big neighbourly country. That country has heavily invested in media with a view to indulging in propaganda against Pakistan,” he added.
Javed Jabbar said empowerment of the common man was at the epicentre of the government’s objectives while exploring a new framework that would bring freedom of expression to the electronic media. “The freedom of expression should not be confined to the print media alone. We believe that by allowing the same in electronic media too, we will empower the common man by keeping him better informed and that would enable the common man to hold both the government and the private sector accountable.”
The adviser referred to the Chief Executive’s address and said the meeting reflected that the government was staying true to its commitment of allowing private channels and was arriving at decisions after candid debates. “This is an unprecedented meeting. We have covered a number of aspects in the two brainstorming sessions that brought forth a wide variety of ideas. We are committed to a flexible evolutionary approach towards framing the policy.” Replying to the concern expressed by some participants, Jabbar made it clear that while evolving a framework the government did not want to impose restrictions on the private sector.
The meeting debated various aspects of the issue, including cross ownership, conflict of interest, news and current affairs, role of the federal government and provincial governments, issuance of licenses for private channels and technical communication matters. Secretary Information Khawaja Maz Sarwar, Secretary Communications Dr Akram Sheikh, attended the meeting; PTV pioneers Aslam Azhar, Agha Nasir, MD PTV Yousaf Beg Mirza, DG PBC Anwar Mahmood, APNS President Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and leading figures in the advertising sector.
Source: The News