Pemra chief admits PTV is beyond laws -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra chief admits PTV is beyond laws

Ahmad Noorani

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) acting Chairman Dr Jabbar has conceded that there is a flaw in Pemra law that PTV is kept out of its sphere of rules and regulation which apply to all other private TV channels.

Speaking to media persons, he said in his personal view the government should amend the law in a way that the state-owned channel should also follow all the rules, regulations and policies applicable on other private national channels so a fair and free competition could be ensured.

Dr Jabbar was speaking to journalists during tea after completing his Saturday’s press conference. He was asked that he tried to give an impression during his press conference that under Pemra law the authority has no control over PTV whereas section 4 of Pemra Act clearly says that Pemra shall be responsible for regulating the establishment and operation of ‘all broadcast media’ and distribution services in Pakistan established for the purpose of international, national, provincial, district, local or special target audiences.

Dr Jabbar replied that section 37 of Pemra Act says that national broadcaster will continue under earlier laws and so Pemra couldnÂ’t exercise its authority over PTV.

“However, according to my view as PTV is not bound to follow Pemra rules, regulations and policies which are applicable on all private channels, so there is not a free and fare competition,” Dr Jabbar said.

He added: “But I cannot do anything as I cannot amend the law.”

Dr Jabbar said that he genuinely believed that the government should amend Pemra law so that PTV should also be made to follow all those rules, regulations and laws which are followed by all other private national channels.

He repeatedly said that he was saying this on the record and is ready to come in any Geo programme to say the same.

He said that though PTV Home is an entertainment channel and PTV News is news channel but according law, Pemra couldn’t initiate any action against these state-owned channels for airing live cricket matches which, he said, was a content violation.

Pemra has suspended Jang/Geo group’s channel Aag TV for airing IPL cricket matches on the grounds that Aag is an entertainment channel.

However, later when Geo News contacted Dr Jabbar to make the same statement on camera he refused to come before the camera. When Dr Jabbar was again contacted by this scribe on his phone to know as to why he was not honouring his words to come on camera, he replied that making any statement about PTV will be a ‘policy statement’ which could only be made by the government through its concerned minister.

Dr Jabbar said that what he said was his personal view but he could not make it as an official statement by coming in front of camera. However, Dr Jabbar again said that he was ready to come online on Geo on the issue of rules and regulations but will not speak on government’s policy.

Dr Jabbar who is implementing the orders of the Presidency and punished Jang and Geo group during the telecast of cricket World Cup in fact had to admit this fact while arguing with journalists.

His admission of facts has completely exposed the government that how it is using PTV and how the PTV is being kept above all basic laws and rules applied on Pakistani private channels.

Dr Jabbar’s statement clearly exposes how the government inflicted huge financial losses to Jang and Geo Group by airing sports event of cricket World Cup on entertainment and news channels of PTV whereas Pemra on government’s winking blocked Aag TV for airing the matches.
Source: The News
Date:4/30/2011