Senate body stresses scrutiny of media content at all levels
ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Senate Sub-Committee on Human Rights (HR) was held here Tuesday under the convenorship of Senator Usman Khan Kakar to ensure that those responsible for content creation and airing of objectionable and misleading advertisement are taken to the task.
The meeting was attended by Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini and senior officers of the Home Department of Punjab, Directorate General Public Relations, Ministry of Human Rights, Government of Pakistan and DMD state-run TV.
Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that media must show positivity and avoid misleading the people of Pakistan. Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini condemned the advertisement and said that if human error is taken into account, there could be one person at fault. “However, in this case we see a chain of human errors as this cannot be called human error, but continuous departmental error,” he opined.
He suggested that there should have been a department who would have scrutinised this advertisement and informed the departments of the after effects of this airing of this advert. “We must find a way out of this and see how this error took place on such a large scale”, he expressed.
Additional Secretary Home Department, Punjab, Dr Saqib Ahmed Khan informed the Committee that the error was rectified at their end and that the advertisement was revised through a notification. He suggested for absolving all government departments involved in creation and airing of the advertisement, of any fault.
Amjad Hussain, Director General DGPR placed complete responsibility of the error on the private advertising agency that filmed it. Senator Dr Jamaldini refuted these claims and said that the script writer is equally involved and must be blacklisted. The Committee stressed the need that the content of the advertisement must have been reviewed thoroughly.
The DGPR informed the sub-committee that an email was sent by the advertising agency to all channels that were to air the advertisement. He assured the sub-Committee that in future DGPR will ensure that all advertisements are reviewed thoroughly by a department within DGPR.
Hassan Immad Mohammad, DMD state TV informed the sub-committee of the findings of the state TV Inquiry Committee. He said that it was concluded that the advertisement provided by the DGPR was telecast without censor by the state run TV censor board due to the fact that government advertisements are prepared under the supervision of high level officers and government commercials always contain public awareness messages.
It is pertinent to mention here that state TV is a government state broadcaster with 100 percent shares owned by the government of Pakistan. “We therefore obey government instructions in letter and spirit.”
Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli showed displeasure regarding delay in producing documents that support the case. The committee asserted that the officers, under whom the decisions had been taken, even though transferred; must be present in the next meeting.
DG HR, Ministry of Human Rights recommended procedural changes that content being disseminated to the press must be evaluated on two or three tiers. Also a time frame must be set to avoid releasing content at the eleventh hour.