Bill to amend cross media laws -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Bill to amend cross media laws

ISLAMABAD – Information and Broadcasting Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on August 20 said that the government will soon present a draft bill in the National Assembly to amend cross media laws, allowing newspaper owners to establish television and radio channels.

He said that during his tenure as information minister screening of Indian movies would not be allowed in Pakistani cinemas.

He made this announcement while replying to questions asked by opposition parties parliamentarians during the question hour session.

Sheikh Rashid said that the government believes in the freedom of expression and also wants to provide best entertainment and information to the people.

“We are going to issue 22 licences for television and radio channels, which will air best entertainment and current affairs programmes,” he added.

To a question by MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali regarding vulgar dramas and dances on PTV, the information minister assured the House that he would take stern action against televising such programmes.

There is no question of vulgarity in any PTV programme as they are produced with an immense sense of responsibility, keeping in view the religious, social, ethical and cultural values of our society, he said.

However, he expressed his inability to control the flow of vulgar channels being screened by cable operators. More than 700 channels are available on one decorder, how can we control all the vulgar channels? He asked.

To another question, Sheikh Rashid said that PTV has earned an income of Rs 1,398.535 million during April 2003 to March 2004.

“PTV is in the forefront in the promotion of social values of our country and presents programmes disseminating proudly the rainbow of Pakistani culture,” he said.

Answering a supplementary question of a MNA, the information minister assured that duration of various programmes for minorities would be enhanced very soon.

He also presented the details of government advertisements released to three newspapers, daily Amn, daily Jasarat and daily Ummat from 2001 to 2003.

He said that advertisements of Rs7,425,837 were released to daily Amn, Rs5,293,785 to daily Jasarat and Rs5,485,302 were released to daily Ummat. No claim regarding outstanding amount of these newspapers have been received.

He also informed the House regarding the value of advertisements released toPTV-I by each provincial government and payment received thereof during the last two years from 2002-04.

To yet another question, the information minister said that currently transmission of FM 101 is being broadcast from eight cities, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Peshawar.

He said that PBC channel’s income was Rs43.533 million in 2001-02, Rs52.574 million in 2002-03 and Rs53.500 million in 2003-04.

Source: Business Recorder