Ordinance for private TV Radio channels soon
ISLAMABAD- Federal Secretary for Information and Media Development Syed Anwar Mehmood has reiterated that government is committed to free and independent media in the country. He said, “Government is firm in issuing licenses to private radio and television channels to provide people of Pakistan a healthy entertainment besides improving the literacy rate through this media”. “So far no private license was issued in Pakistan”.
He said that in the past a draft Ordinance was prepared for setting up private television and radio channels and now this draft was referred to Ministry of Law with some amendments for further considerations.
Talking on amendment proposed in the draft of Press Regulatory Ordinance, he said it is about the control of Cable Television Networks (CTN), whether the cable networks will be brought under this Press Regulatory Ordinance or not PTCL will continue to control them. Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has issued licences to CTN and they are operating. He said that a committee was constituted in this regard which will submit its report by the end of this month.
Anwar Mehmood said that there is lack of potential of running private channels in Pakistan. May be radio channels will run but as far as the TV channels are concerned it is very expensive, he added.
To a question about Press Council, Federal Information Secretary said that it is a regulatory body, having a representation of owners and publishers of newspapers and working journalists. “Government has no representation in it”, he added. “Draft Ordinance is ready, but the government is in consultation with ALL Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE). The meetings came to standstill due to Wage Board issue”, he said.
He expressed his optimism about the constitution of Press Council and said “I am in touch with the leadership of APNS, CPNE and working journalists and very soon we will reach to a conclusion”.
Talking on the implementation of the Seventh Wage Board Syed Anwar Mehmood said that Ministry of Information has no role in it but it could act as bridge between owners and working journalists. “I am in touch with both sides and there are possibilities of a solution.”
Anwar Mehmood, who is also Chairman Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) said that PTV, is a family channel and is providing people a healthy entertainment within the limitations of the religious and cultural traditions. “Policy is liberal but not like in India or in West. We have a rich culture and religion and we have to follow them and form the policy for our media”, he added.
To another question, he said that PTV-World is a commercial institution and is not receiving any funding from the government.
“Pakistanis living abroad are demanding that Pakistan launch television channels in order to provide people living outside knowledge about their homeland, he said.
He dispelled the impression regarding the-restrictions on press and said, “Press is totally free in Pakistan and there were no restrictions on freedom of expression”.
Source: The Nation