PEMRA directed to ensure broadcasting politicians’ speeches live -
Pakistan Press Foundation

PEMRA directed to ensure broadcasting politicians’ speeches live

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD – The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure that speeches of all political leaders are broadcasted live without interruption in compliance with the decision of higher judiciary.
The committee met at PTV Headquarters under the chair of Senator Faisal Javed. The meeting commenced with a briefing from Chairman PEMRA Muhammad Saleem Baig on the recent suspension of transmission of certain channels and the prohibition on broadcasting speeches of specific political figures including PTI chief Imran Khan. Senator Javed emphasised that halting the transmission of channels was tantamount to impeding freedom of expression.
The chairman PEMRA clarified that authority has not stopped transmission of any channel. On this, the chair remarked that, as per the information received from media channels, PEMRA officials ordered to halt transmissions via WhatsApp calls. The PEMRA chairman responded that channels should file written complaints in this regard with the authority promising to take appropriate action to curb such practice. The committee also discussed the issue of appearance of the word “delayed” on the TV screen during the transmission of speeches of ex-premier Imran Khan. Senator Aon Abbas pointed out that this phenomenon occurred only during Imran’s speeches.
The chairman PEMRA remarked that all channels were subject to the same code of conduct, which mandates delayed transmission in order to exercise editorial control. However, the chairman of the committee expressed surprise that Imran’s speeches were particularly targeted in this regard. The chairman of PEMRA could not provide a satisfactory answer to the committee’s questions on this matter. The meeting further decided to invite the owners and representatives of the media channels to attend the next meeting to review the ongoing situation regarding the closure of channels.
The committee received a briefing from the Director-General of Radio Pakistan regarding the issue of non-payment of pension to retired employees of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC). The DG informed the committee that the required amount has been received by the institution, and the pension for the retired employees for the last two months would be paid before Eidul Fitr. However, due to a lack of funds, the corporation was unable to pay commutation to the employees for the last four years, he added. In response to the chairman committee’s inquiry, it was disclosed that PBC requires approximately Rs1.5 billion to settle all outstanding payments.
The committee unanimously recommended that the government provide the necessary funds to the corporation to ensure that the retired employees receive their rightful payments promptly. Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb informed the committee that the ministry has issued no policy regarding the privatisation of Radio Pakistan’s land and buildings. The subcommittee has already been established under the chairmanship of Senator Irfan Siddiqui to investigate the matter further and submit its findings to the committee shortly.
Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi brought to the committee’s attention the issue of Radio Pakistan’s property in Karachi, which is currently being used by the Rangers. The committee was informed that a letter had been written to the Ministry of Interior to address the matter. In response, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb instructed the officials to contact the interior ministry on priority basis to resolve the issue as soon as possible. The committee was also briefed on Radio Pakistan’s recent initiative to establish four new modern podcast studios.
Regarding the closure of the Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company’s YouTube channel, the committee was informed that the private company’s contract for managing the channel had expired. As a solution, an application called PTVFlix has been developed, where all the old programmes and dramas are available to the public.

Source: The Nation

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