Editing freedom of electronic media stressed
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KARACHI- The roundtable on “Imminent changes: prospective challenges” arranged by Citizens’ Media Commission (CMC) in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (a German foundation) at a local hotel appreciated the Musharraf government for having adopted measures for independent electrode media. It stressed the effective efforts and implementation of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) recently approved by the cabinet.
The chairman of CMC, and former chief justice of Pakistan, Dr Nasim Hasan Shah, who was chief guest on the occasion, CMC Convenor and the former minister for information and media development, Javed Jabbar (who conducted the discussion) and many others took into account different aspects of the matter of independence of the electronic media.
The participants examined the functions of Pakistan Television (PTV), Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), Shaheen Pakistan Television (SPTV), FM and provision of training and professional facilities to the workforce and staff of television and radio on the part of government in relation to electronic media freedom.
Replying to the questions of some of the participants, Yousuf Baig Mirza pointed out that efforts were to decentralize (free from the absolute control of Islamabad) the PTV centres. In various programmes, the centres were allowed to make and produce their own programmes instead of working under the guidelines of Islamabad centre.
Similarly, in the case of radio, the participants were informed that efforts were on to project the problem of masses in an objective manner. The participants emphasized that the electronic media must present affairs and events taking place in the country and abroad that have true worth and to meet the cultural and social challenges of the society, the private channels must be allowed. The participants also noted that the problems of women, children and special people should be covered in order to create social awareness and to educate society.
Justice Nasim Hasan Shah and Javed Jabbar, concluding the discussion said that moderate and enlightened liberty was the need of the hour in order to meet the challenge of the modem world.
Highlighting the factor of huge funds for running the state controlled electronic media, Jabbar said it must not be considered as an economic pressure causing influence on the working media. Instead, the funds should be granted for building self-confidence and independence of electronic media.
He pointed out that the CMC had decided to mark Electronic Media Freedom Day every year (on February 14) as on the same day in 1997, the then caretaker government of Pakistan had promulgated the Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance and this was the first in the history of Pakistan that a law defined a framework for the grant of licences to establish and operate independent, privately owned radio and TV channels. The law, he added, also provided for a transparent process for the grant of licences through an autonomous authority. Later on, he stated, the then Nawaz Sharif government had taken keen interest in the independence of electronic media and the chief executive himself in his first speech referred formally to the need for private and independent radio and TV channels.
Source: The News