Government plan about private channels ‘ambitious' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government plan about private channels ‘ambitious’

LAHORE- The US media experts voiced concern over the government policy on launching TV and Radio channels in the private sector, terming it an ‘ambitious’ programme as Federal Secretary unveiled some of the aspects of the plan at a “Worldnet Dialogue on Independent TV and Radio Operation”.

Ejaz Sarwer who was a panelist from Islamabad in a dialogue organised by US Consulate, said as per directives of Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf, new TV and radio channels would be allowed in the private sector. He said a regulatory body was in the process of making rules, which would be operational by the end of this year and in the first quarter of next year (2001) TV and radio channels would be start functioning.

To a question put up by the US media experts that at what level the licences will be awarded in the initial stage, Federal Secretary said initially there would be no restriction and applicant could apply for national or regional or local broadcast and even for an international broadcasting. He said, however, a foreigner could have minor shares only. The federal secretary clarified that the government had no intention to privatise the radio and TV in Pakistan. He said media regulatory authority would evaluate the credentials of the applicants on the basis of professional and financial merit. He said as a matter of policy these new channels would have to keep in mind the national interests of the country and Islamic values.

However, the US media experts terming the plan an ambitious one in terms of timeframe, called for adopting a gradual approach. “The govt could start either from top or bottom, awarding licences from national level in the first place and then proceed on to regional and local levels in the next stages or vice versa” suggested the Washington panelists.
Source: The Nation