International media consultant emphasises culture of compliance on PEMRA decisions

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 07 (APP):International media regulation expert and UK Communication Regulator, OfCom’s consultant, Chris Banatvala on Tuesday held more meetings with Chairman, members of Authority and Councils of Complaints (COC) as well as senior management at PEMRA headquarters.
He was accompanied by Ms Charlotte Jago from the British High Commission. In the 2-hour long meetings, Banatvala emphasized culture of compliance by the license holders with regard to PEMRA’s decisions. However, he said it could work only when the broadcasters believed in self-regulation. He also suggested to the PEMRA to simplify the entire procedure of complaint resolution by making it more transparent, easily accessible to public and keeping the stakeholders/parties on board from day one. He also suggested a considerable increase in the fine amount. This will serve the violators of the Code of Conduct with a loud and clear message, he said. He emphasized the need for judicial as well as public ownership of regulator’s decision for its effective functioning.
Responding to a piece of information given by PEMRA that there were more than 500 cases pending in the courts with regard to implementation of its decisions, he said in the UK and in advanced Asian countries too, judiciary generally supported the Regulator. He particularly mentioned the UK where he spent seven years as Director of Standards, OfCom, and told that in nine out of ten cases, broadcasters complied with the regulator’s decisions. “During my 7-year tenure at OfCom, there were three instances when the licensees approached courts against the regulator’s decision,” he said. On Tuesday, Chris Banatvala held meetings with Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam, Member Punjab, Nargis Nasir, Member KP Shaheen Habibullah, COC Lahore Members, Iftikhar Tarar, Sughra Sadaf, COC Karachi Member, Hoori Noorani and senior officials of the regulator.