Concern over move to relax timings on PTV
ISLAMABAD – The Network for Consumer Protection has expressed concern over a recent debate held by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information on relaxing timings on the state-owned Pakistan television for airing tobacco advertisements.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad on August 9, executive coordinator of the Network Dr. Zafar Mirza said the plea put forward by the PTV that it was facing revenue shortfall for not showing tobacco advertisement was unjustifiable.
He said the PTV’s prime time was fully utilized and no time was aired without any sponsor. If one sponsor withdraws advertisement, more than a couple are on the waiting list, he added.
It is deplorable that the tobacco industry voluntarily announced neither to place advertisements on electronic media nor sell cigarettes to minors, but still PTV wants to air tobacco advertisements, he observed.
Dr. Mirza said the current stance taken by the PTV, as reported in the press, for reintroducing tobacco advertisements on its various channels would take away years of efforts made by tobacco control activists. He vowed to launch a countrywide protest if any such action was taken.
According to a notification issued by the ministry of health on October 25, 2003, tobacco advertisements on electronic media can only be aired between 12 midnight and 6am.
These restrictions on advertisements of tobacco were proposed by the guidelines committee on tobacco advertisements, formed under section 7 of Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoking Health Ordinance 2002.
The committee comprised, among others, representatives form tobacco industry and Pakistan Television Corporation. These recommendations, effective since November 24, 2003, were outcome of thorough debate on the issue of tobacco advertisements and their detrimental effect on public.