Directives issued to check FM channels -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Directives issued to check FM channels

PESHAWAR – The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Islamabad, has asked its regional office in Peshawar to monitor the programmes of FM radio channels in the province in view of their growing popularity, said an official.

“We have received many letters from the PBC, asking us to monitor the programmes being aired by the private FM radio channels in the province,” said the official.

According to him, the PCB’s directives had been issued in view of the growing number of FM radio channels in the province and the government wanted to keep an eye on the programmes of these channels to know whether they were following the code of ethics prepared by the ministry concerned.

“If these channels deviate from the prescribed rules and do not comply with them, their licences would be cancelled”, the official said and added that these radio channels needed to transmit programmes for the entertainment of the people and must not indulge in political propaganda.

The government was also concerned about the programmes which were not in line with the injunctions of Islam, said the official. Another reason for monitoring of these channels was that the government did not want them to air programmes regarding the ongoing war against terrorism in tribal areas, especially South Waziristan.

Sources in the regional office of the PCB said that there were only two channels functioning in the area; Buraq and the Campus Radio, which has a very limited radius. Buraq had started its transmission only a few weeks ago, while the Campus Radio was being used by the Department of Journalism, University of Peshawar, for commercial purposes, the sources added.

Besides these channels, one is functioning in Serai Naurang, Lakky Marwat, which usually presents programmes of local nature.

We cannot monitor that channel because its transmission is limited only to the Lakky Marwat district,” the sources said.

Interestingly, the PCB headquarters’ directives to the regional office regarding the monitoring of FM channels is quite misplaced as the regional office has no mandate to monitor their activities.

The Pakistan Electronics and Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) was required to monitor the functioning of these channels and initiate action accordingly, another official said.

He said the regional office was already monitoring the transmission of FM radio channels, but the ultimate authority rest with Pemra, which is required to monitor these channel and take action under the relevant laws.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/2/2004