ISLAMABAD, Jul 27 (APP): The sub committee of National
Assembly on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage urged Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure compliance of its code of conduct for television channels.
The meeting was chaired by committee convener PPP MNA Imran Zafar Leghari here at PEMRA headquarters on Monday.
The meeting looked into the administrative, financial and
legal affairs of PEMRA.
The committee made recommendations to ensure effective
implementation of Supreme Court’s decision on code of conduct for electronic media.
MNA Talal Chaudhry assured support of the committee to PEMRA for implementation of the code.
The committee decided to summon television owners to the
committee meeting to seek explanation for the statements issued in support of martial law by an anchor.
Some anchors were misusing the freedom enjoyed by the media, Talal Chaudhry added.
Talal renewed commitment of his party Pakistan Muslim
League(N) and the government to support freedom of expression in the country.
“There will be no constraints on freedom of expression except reasonable restrictions given in the law.”
He said they supported journalists on issue of salaries owed
by BOL channel.
Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam said the Parliament and court can take notice of anti-state statements made on televisions.
He said there is difference of opinion on the code of conduct
between PEMRA and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA).
At one stage, PBA said that it would self-regulate but after
few months they refused to do it, he added.
When PEMRA started regulating the television channels, they
went to courts and took stay orders, he added.
Absar said media achieved its freedom by rendering sacrifices
and now some anchors were making fun of it and were pursuing an agenda.
Parliament has to play its role on this issue, he said adding
some anchors were holding dual citizenships and talking against the constitution of Pakistan.
He suggested that the amount of fine on television channels
should be increased as was done by United Kingdom media regulator Ofcom which imposed penalty on media outlets according to their revenue.
He observed that if television channels wanted British
standard of freedom of speech then they should also observe their standard of responsibility.
The committee directed that PEMRA should give its legal
opinion in the next meeting about violation of article 6 of the
constitution which deals with anti-state activities.
Talal Chaudhry also sought documents pertaining to ratings
scandal involving electronic media.