Kaira speaks of code of conduct for media: Pemra chief says firm hired to monitor ads on channels -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Kaira speaks of code of conduct for media: Pemra chief says firm hired to monitor ads on channels

By Usman Manzoor

Islamabad: The government looks all set to prepare a code of conduct for the electronic media. Recently, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has hired a firm to monitor the television channels so that Pemra laws could be implemented and the code of conduct for advertising could be followed and the contents of the television channels monitored.

Federal information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira talking to The News said that the code of conduct framed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority was not followed by the television channels and the government has been repeatedly asking the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) to frame their own code of conduct that could be implemented with the mutual consent of PBA and the government.

Kaira said the government did not want to enforce its code on the media. “We had asked the media to develop a code of conduct on war on terror but unfortunately it could not develop any”, said the information minister adding: “We do not want any confrontation with the media and if PBA failed to frame any code of conduct then we would engage non-controversial retired judges of the Supreme Court and media persons to develop a code of conduct for television channels.”

He said that PBA had to submit the draft of code of conduct but it was being delayed. About the firm hired by Pemra, the information minister said that the purpose of hiring the firm was to monitor the advertisement and contents of the channels.

Chairman Pemra Mushtaq Malik when contacted said that all television channels have signed the code of conducted when they were issued the licence. He said that Pemra has a full-fledged code of conduct with all the necessary laws but the PBA was asked to frame its own code. Mushtaq Malik said that a firm to monitor the channels has been hired because the channels could only run 12 minutes per hour as advertisement and ten minutes should be spared for public service messages. He said that a channel has to pay 5 % of gross revenue to the government while entertainment and sports channels have to pay 7.5 % of gross revenue and to calculate this amount Pemra has hired a firm.

Fauzia Wahab, the PPP spokesperson, while talking to this correspondent said that the media is to be regulated under some law while unfortunately in Pakistan there is no such law. “We have been asking the media people to develop a self-regulatory system so that media could be run under some law”, said the PPP information secretary adding: “at present there is no law to regulate media therefore it is necessary to evolve rules and regulations and code of conduct so that like all other countries of the world the media in Pakistan could be regulated through proper law.”

Source: The News

Date:6/24/2009