Military-civil media panel revisits its mandate -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Military-civil media panel revisits its mandate

ISLAMABAD: The mysterious “Media Coordination Committee on Defence Planning” met here on Thursday with almost full attendance, but did not discuss the agenda that had caused alarm in the media circles, and instead decided to review its own mandate.

According to sources, Federal Information Secretary Mansoor Sohail, who is the head of the committee by virtue of his office, told the members that he would ask the Cabinet Division to see if there was any need for having such a committee that was constituted soon after the 1971 war with India to counter “enemy propaganda”.

Later, the sources said, the committee continued to hold meetings at regular intervals keeping its agenda and activities secret.

The last time the committee met was in 2008 – a few months before the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.

The official handout issued by the ministry of information said the committee reviewed its mandate to devise a course of action in view of the fact that its last meeting was held in May 2008.

“The committee considered it imperative for the competent authority to revisit its terms of reference. It, therefore, decided to recommend the same to the authorities concerned so that it could play its due role with a clear mandate,” the handout said.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Cabinet Division, ministries of interior, foreign affairs, defence, States and Frontier Regions, ISPR and heads of departments and corporations of the information ministry.

A member of the committee told Dawn that the agenda “unthinkably” circulated for Thursday’s meeting had been set for the meeting that was to be held two years ago, but could not take place.

The report that the 14-member Media Coordination Committee on Defence Planning, comprising mostly civil and military bureaucrats, will be meeting on Thursday to prepare “policy guidelines” for local and international media to protect so far undefined “national interests” had created a stir in the media, particularly the electronic media.

The committee was to evolve “a policy for tuning in the private media to national outlook and securing core national security interests”.
Source: Dawn
Date:7/2/2010