FATA demands local radio, TV before polls
ISLAMABAD: Mainstream political parties and members of the National Assembly from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), on Thursday, demanded local independent TV channels and radio stations to create an enabling environment for political participation in the region ahead of general elections.
For this purpose, they demanded President Asif Zardari to urgently issue an executive order or ordinance immediately extending the jurisdiction of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to FATA so that it could start issuing licences for local radio stations and TV channels in the private sector.
The demand came in the form of a special declaration at a roundtable ‘Can There Be Political Reforms in FATA Without Media Reforms?’ conducted by Intermedia Pakistan, a national media advocacy, research and training organisation.
Currently the local media is restricted to only three FM radio stations, all of which are owned by the state, for a population of over five million residents of Tribal Areas. Under current laws there cannot be local independent radio stations, TV channels or print media in FATA, which severely hampers exercise of constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and right to information access there.
The roundtable was attended by members of National Assembly and senators from FATA as well as other political party representatives.