Senators propose ban on Indian TV chanels
ISLAMABAD, Jan 12: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Monday asked the government to stop cable operators from showing Indian channels in response to the Indian media’s vilification campaign against Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Senator Tariq Azeem (PML-Q) made the suggestion which was endorsed unanimously by the committee members. The committee met here at the parliament house with Senator Liaqat Ali Bangulzai in the chair.
Senator Azeem argued that after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Pakistani artists and authors have become main victim and even books written by the Pakistani writers were being removed from bookshops. However, on the contrary, Indian movies are being shown on various cable networks in every nook and corner of the country, and the government had given permission to screen Indian movies in the local cinemas.
He was of the view that the information ministry should work on reciprocal basis with the Indian media managers. “If they are willing to air our channels to their public, then we should not have any objection to show their channels to our masses”, he added.
Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party (ANP) supported the proposal of banning Indian entertainment channels but spoke in favor of running India’s news channels so that people in the country could understand how their media was projecting Pakistan to their masses.
However, chairman of the committee was for a complete ban on Indian channels until there is a complete thaw between the two countries in the ongoing tension which for the time being is running quite high.
The issue of contractual employees in the PTV also came under discussion and the committee members recommended to the secretary information, Ashfaq Gondal and PTV Managing Director Arshad Khan, who were also present at the meeting, to regularise their services.
The officials informed the committee that the issue of contractual employees in the PTV was already on the agenda of its Board of Directors meeting scheduled to be held in the last week of the ongoing month.
About the appointment of the new MD, secretary information informed the committee members that Mr Arshad’s appointment has been made on merit, chosen out of a panel of three candidates.
Once again the committee members expressed their concern over the delay in the recovery of dues from various advertising agencies which run into over Rs1 billion. They asked the committee to take special measures to recover the money and take defaulters to the court.
Later on talking to the mediapersons, Senator Bangulzai criticised the information ministry for not paying due attention to the committee’s recommendation. “I have asked the ministry officials to come up with a compliance report on our recommendation in the next meeting of the committee,” he said.
APP adds: The meeting also discussed issues of APP and External Publicity Wing of the Ministry and the observance of regional quota of employment and matter relating to PTV finances.
Senators Mir Muhammad Naseer Mengal, Tariq Azim Khan, Muhammad Ali Durrani, Haji Muhammad Adeel, Syed Muhammad Hussain, Tahira Latif, Maulana Samiul Haq, Nilofar Bakhtiar and senior PTV management were also present.
The committee noted with concern that a number of discrepancies had been found in the provincial/regional quota, which needed to be rectified with a view to removing the sense of deprivation among the people especially those belonging to remote areas of the country.
The committee which had expressed its reservations over the audit of the organisation was informed that a special audit of PTV was being carried out and its findings would be shared with the committee.
The committee also expressed its concern over the postings of unqualified staff at different positions in the PTV and agreed to the proposal that the provincial TV centres should be made independent to highlight activities in local languages as it would help in projecting the local culture and customs of the society.
Senator Adeel observed that the performance of press officers attached with different embassies was unsatisfactory as he visited New York, Washington, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as part of a delegation, but none of the press officers or APP correspondents were there to give them coverage and proposed stern disciplinary action against them.