MNAs frown at `obscenity` on TV channels
ISLAMABAD: Both the treasury and opposition MNAs in the lower house of the Parliament were on the same wavelength on Thursday as they lashed out at the private TV channels for airing what they believed objectionable contents in dramas and in some of the commercials.
“Language, subjects, obscenity and the vulgar scenes are all objectionable in most of the dramas and in advertisements of the cellular companies. What kind of message are they sending to the children as they give them temptation to talk all through night offering certain packages,” a member complained to Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Samsam Bukhari.
PPP Information Secretary MNA Fauzia Wahab, MNA Shireen Arshad, MNA Justice (retired) Fakhurunisa Khokhar and several others described such contents as vulgar which were corrupting the minds of the younger generation.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Samsam Bukhari agreed with them by saying: “No doubt some TV channels have been violating code of conduct. However, action can only be initiated in response to a complaint. He said that about 2,500 cable operators were airing the TV transmissions in the country and there were only five councils and those, too, were only in big cities where people could report against objectionable contents.
According to the state minister, a code of conduct was given to all the TV channels regarding language and dress codes. However, legal action against the violators required adequate funds which were lacking. He said that the masses could also not be made aware about the complaint councils for want of funds.
“In the last four months, 540 complaints have been registered from cable subscribers,” he said.
While members were grilling the state minister over `obscene content` in dramas and certain commercials, Samsam Bukhari drew the attention of the House to the `vulgar` talk shows where the Parliament was disgraced and the parliamentarians were disrespected.
A member also complained about penalizing small cable operators and extending leniency towards bigger channels which promoted foreign cultures in the country.
The state minister responded by asking for specific channels and programmes that violated code of conduct and added, “We have allowed freedom of expression to TV channels and will continue with the same policy.”
PML MNA Ahsan Iqbal among other members drew the state minister`s attention towards lack of educational programmes for children at the TV channels which they described as their social responsibility.
Samsam Bukhari conceded that licence conditions required all the TV channels to air learning programmes.