Senate body asks Pemra to take action against TV channels
ISLAMABAD – Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage yesterday asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take action against the television channels violating its rules and regulations regarding sanctity of Ramazan.
The committee meeting was held under the chair of Senator Kamil Ali Agha and discussed Ramazan transmission of TV channels and the role of media.
The committee also discussed the stay order against PEMRA decision to ban Geo Entertainment programme “Inam Ghar” for showing suicide pictures of girl, airing abusive language and indecent call of a woman.
Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam briefed the committee that the authority thought that the court will not give relief to the concerned channel due to very sound evidence but its ban was overruled within minutes in the chamber of the court. He said 96 percent people appreciated the Authority’s decision against Inam Ghar programme. He mentioned that PEMRA had given the detailed list of 900 compliants against Dr. Ammir Liaquat’s programme.
He also told the committee that another TV channel (SAMAA) has been given stay against the ban on re-enactment of crime scenes, which he feared will give free hand to all channels to restart such programmes. The committee members said that they would take up the issue in the Senate for detailed debate.
The Chairman PEMRA proposed that fine for violation of rules should be increased as it would hurt the financial interest of the proprietors and not the workers.
Senator Saeed Ghani pointed out that PEMAR is reluctant to take action against a specific TV channel instead of other channels.
Talking about the ban on AAJ TV anchor Hamza Abbasi and other anchors for hurting religious sentiments, the committee said that the issue was settled during Z.A. Bhutto era and there was no need to reopen this debate at this juncture.
Senator Nehal Hashmi said that Hamza Abbasi had hurt the sentiments of entire nation and he should be banned from all channels. He also proposed to ban Abbasi for modeling and appearance on TV channels in any capacity. Absar Alam replied PEMRA cannot stop him from modelling. The committee members also opined that the rating race among various TV channels was the main reason behind highlighting controversial issues on the mini-screen.
Secretary Information Syed Imran Gardezi informed the committee that Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications has been focusing on the issue and in collaboration with PTCI, it has developed a mechanism to monitor 100,000 subscribers.
He said that rating was important for the channels as they get advertisements on the basis of their viewership.
The committee issued directives to PEMRA that it should present a draft of proposed amendments in the laws regarding control on dramatization of crime-related scenes.
Gardezi assured the committee that pension of Lok Virsa employees will be disbursed by Monday as the additional grant for them has been approved by the Finance Division now.
The meeting was attended by Senators Farhatullah Babar, Saeed Ghani, Rubina Khalid, Ghous Niazi, Nehal Hashmi and Yaqub Nasar, officials of Ministry of Information.