India interrupts FM Radio Mirpur transmission: Senate panel informed
BY: WAQAR LILLAH
India has interrupted transmission of FM Radio Mirpur of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and transmitted its broadcast through high-powered FM transmitter, Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was informed on Wednesday. The committee expressed displeasure over the negligence of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation for not bringing the incident into the notice of the government well in time.
The panel directed the Director General PBC, Dr Murtaza Solangi to submit a report of the incident to the government for further action. The committee said that protest would have been lodged with the Indian government, if the PBC had informed the concerned authorities, adding that the matter was sensitive but the PBC has failed to handle properly. The committee further directed the PBC to submit comprehensive report that on how many occasion the interruption of the PBC’s transmissions occurred internally by the Pakistani governments or by the foreign countries.
DG Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Dr Murtaza Solangi told the committee that FM transmitter in Mirpur was outdated and comparatively with low frequency than that of the Indian FM transmitter installed at other side of the border in Indian Held Kashmir. The PBC has replaced it with new one, with high frequency and no incident of interruption has been recorded after the installation of the new FM transmitter, he added.
About the broadcasting of Voice of America (VOA) programs through Radio Pakistan, the committee members said that the PBC is not broadcasting contents of other foreign radios, including BBC, Chinese Radio and Saudi Radio, however, the PBC could generate enough revenue by giving them some airtime. The committee directed the PBC to submit a copy of the agreement singed between the VOA and PBC pertaining to the broadcasting of the VOA programs.
Committee Chairman Senator Kamil Ali Agha presided over the meeting of the committee held in the parliament and discussed the issue of stoppage of broadcasting of Senate and National Assembly proceedings on Radio Pakistan. The chairman said that reports were received that the Radio Pakistan has stopped broadcasting live coverage of both upper and lower houses and has also disconnected a program named ‘Zamima’, which provides comprehensive details of proceedings.
Dr Murtaza Solangi informed the committee that Radio Pakistan is giving comprehensive coverage to the proceedings of the parliament and the program based on the proceeding of the Senate and the National Assembly has not been disconnected, however its format and time of broadcast has been changed to expand the scope of coverage. Whenever permitted by the chairman Senate/Speaker National Assembly, sessions would also be aired live on national network, he added.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira informed the committee about the code of conducts for Pemra to control unauthentic news and obscenity on different TV channels. He said that private media organisations have rejected the code of conduct, formulated by the government before his tenure, however the government has prepared a new code of conduct for Pemra to regulate media originations, but the compendium has not yet been endorsed as law despite the fact that it was prepared by neutral persons, including Fakhr-ud-Din G Ebrahim.
Expressing resentments on the contents of different private channels that have regularly ‘defaming’ the national institutions, Kaira said the government is not taking any action against media outlets as they would start government’s trail. About anti-Islam movie, the Information Minister informed the committee that the government has strongly condemned the sacrilegious movie and the National Assembly has moved a resolution, which was unanimously endorsed. The committee members included Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Malik Najmul Hassan, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Senator Rubina Khalid.