PEMRA asked to take stern action against TV channels violating Ramzan sanctity

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ISLAMABAD, June 30 (APP): Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage on Thursday directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to take stern action against the television channels violating its rules and regulations regarding sanctity of Ramzan.

The meeting, chaired by Kamil Ali Agha, was discussing Ramzan transmission of TV channels and the role of media here.

The committee also took note over stay order against PEMRA decision to ban “Inamghar” programme of a private channel for showing suicide pictures of girl, airing abusive language and indecent call of woman.

Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam told 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 that PEMRA had issued directives well before advent of Ramazan for keeping in mind its sanctity.

He also told the committee that another TV channel 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.

Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam proposed that fine for violation of rules should be increased as it would hurt the financial interest of the proprietors and not the workers.

About ban on some 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.

Nehal Hashmi said that Hamza Abbasi had hurt the sentiments of entire nation and he should be banned from all channels.

The committee members also opined that rating race among various TV channels was the main reason behind highlighting controversial issues on the mini-screen.

It directed the Ministry of IB&NH to launch its own system for judging the viewership of the TV channels.

Secretary IB&NH Syed Imran Gardezi informed the committee that Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications has been focusing on the issue and in collaboration with PTCl, it has developed a mechanism to monitor one lac subscribers.

He said that ratings 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.

The Secretary IB&NH 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.