Aziz calls PEMRA project ‘overtly intrusive’
* Refuses demand of Rs 100 million
* Asks authority to adopt enforcement mechanism, ensure healthy entertainment and free flow of information
By Zulfiqar Ghuman
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has rejected a demand by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for Rs 100 million to fund its project of strengthening PEMRA enforcement. The prime minister felt the project was “overtly intrusive” and could suppress the growth of the electronic media, Daily Times has learnt.
“An overtly intrusive role of PEMRA may suppress the growth of TV channels and the cable operators market. It should adopt an enforcement mechanism to facilitate the growth of this market, ensure healthy entertainment, education and the free flow of information,” sources quoted the prime minister as saying.
Sources said PEMRA had told the prime minister it needed to be strengthened in logistical support, monitoring equipment and human resources, adding that it had made a three-year plans worth Rs 400 million to monitor illegalities in the business of media. They said that the authority demanded Rs 100 million from the government, while the rest of the money was supposed to be generated by its own resources.
The government, sources said, recognised the media business had helped create jobs, which was an improvement, but the display of Indian and other media content was illegal and needed to be monitored. They said the government believed “undue expansion of enforcement staff and offices” was not likely to be effective in the long run and urged the authority to make their demands in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.