Senate body asks government to appoint permanent Pemra chairman
Senate Standing Committee on Information Broadcasting and National Heritage has grilled the Secretary Information for not submitting monthly reports regarding electronic media to the Committee and for not giving satisfactory answers to the members.
The Committee also asked the Ministry of Information to appoint a permanent chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and to constitute a Committee with the co-ordination of Pemra to deal with matters relating to violation of code of conduct by the electronic media. The Committee also recommended to the Ministry to take measures to direct electronic media to broadcast programmes about children, health and education.
The committee met with Senator Kamil Ali Agha in the Chair at Parliament House on Friday. Senator Farhatullah Babar, Rubina Khalid, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Dr Abdul Qayyum Soomro and others participated in the meeting.
Chairman of the Committee Kamil Ali Agha said the Information Ministry was asked to submit its report regarding measures taken about electronic media and other matters to the Committee every month, but it did not do so. “It is a joke with the Committee. The Committee has asked Secretary Information eight months back to send monthly report but he did not take it seriously. If he were under me, I would not have tolerated him even for three days,” Kamil Ali Agha said.
The committee noted that certain media outlets are violating PEMRA rules regarding broadcast of foreign content. It said the authority should fully exercise its powers and take strict action against the media houses violating rules. Kamil Ali Agha asked why Pemra is not taking action on violation of the code of conduct while an owner of electronic channel signed at 26 places on the paper of code of conduct. He said that “different TV channels are opposing each other and this attitude is dangerous for journalism.”
While discussing the issue of employees serving in PTV & PBC/APP having fake degrees and the action taken against them so far, Managing Director PTV Muhammad Malick, who has been removed by an order of the Islamabad High Court, told the Committee that he did not terminate any employee of PTV on political basis after assuming the charge of PTV MD three months back. He said that verification of degrees is under way. He said that the process of verification of the degrees of some employees has been completed and 10 employees were terminated for possessing fake degrees.
The Committee asked the MD PTV to submit the list of those people who were expelled during the PML-N government. The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was informed that a media code of ethics has been prepared in consultation with all the stakeholders. Secretary Information Dr Nazir Saeed briefed the committee about the code of conduct and said it will be presented to the committee.