Illegal broadcast of cricket matches: Senate body directs PEMRA to take action against responsible channels
ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Monday directed PEMRA for action against private channels showing live world cup cricket illegally in the name of discussion programmes.
Showing cricket matches in such a manner is totally illegal and against the rules, the committee observed.
The committee also said it was piracy as Pakistan Television has already paid huge amount for purchasing rights to show cricket matches. Earlier, PTV MD Muhammad Malick requested the committee for directing PEMRA to take action against private TV channels live broadcasting cricket matches during expert discussions. He also requested the committee to ask PEMRA to block unauthorised landing and distribution of Indian TV channels in Pakistan.
The committee also decided to call the Cabinet secretary in the next meeting to enquire about delay in Right to Information (RTI) Bill, which was sent to the Cabinet in November 2014 for formal approval. Committee Chairman Kamil Ali Agha said the Cabinet secretary would have to apprise the committee as to what are the criteria of taking a government bill on priority. The committee was of the view that since November 2014, three meetings of the Cabinet held but the RTI Bill could not be taken up. Agha said the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting secretary has to write a letter to the Cabinet secretary that it is violation of law to keep pending a government bill (RTI).
The committee asked the government to approve on priority the draft of Right to Information Bill. The committee members said that early approval by the Cabinet should be sought so that it could be tabled in the Parliament.
Information Secretary Muhammad Azam Khan informed the committee that draft of the bill was sent to the Cabinet Secretariat in November last year but due to heavy agenda during last three meetings it could not be taken up. Minister for Information, Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said that he has talked to the Cabinet Division secretary who has assured that in the next Cabinet meeting, the bill would be taken up on priority.
The committee discussed in detail Pakistan Television Corporation and directed its management to bring more transparency in running the affairs of the corporation. The committee was informed that in the past PTV management used to give advance payments to private production houses for purchase of dramas from the open market, but now a new policy has been adopted that first instalment would be paid after telecast of four episodes.
On the issue of appointment of PTV MD, Information Secretary Azam Khan told that the Supreme Court had suspended the IHC decision of July 11 last year. However, the committee directed the ministry to provide copies of the court’s stay order in the next meeting.
PTV MD Muhammad Malick said that all PTV employees have excellent ACRs, but the institution is facing crisis which shows there is something wrong with the assessment system. He said that income generated by the PTV through electricity bills was spent on salaries and medical bills of the staff and the institution had no money for new purchases and up-gradation including computerisation of its record.
Malick said there were 6,000 employees in PTV but their output was equal to 1,000 persons in the private sector. Moreover, he said that the PTV was running 128 RBS and it was covering financially unviable areas like Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas as well.
About agenda item on defaulting private production houses, he said that in most of the cases the claims were not reconciled by the PTV staff. About the agenda item on giving charge of higher posts to junior officers, the committee sought more details in the next meeting.
The meeting was attended by Senators Farhatullah Babar, Saeed Ghani, Rubina Khalid, Farha Aqil, Shirala Malik, Almas Perveen, Zafar Ali Shah, Najmul Hassan Khan and Daud Achakzai.
Senior officials of the Information Ministry and PTV were also present in the meeting.