Senate committee for implementing code of conduct for channels

ISLAMABAD: Endorsing the code of conduct for electronic media, legislative body of Senate on Monday recommended the ministry of Information and Broadcasting to implement it within a week’s time. 
Implementation of the code of conduct is in the best interests of the country and also for private TV channels. This was said in Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting held at the Parliament House with Senator Kamil Ali Agha in the chair. The committee was unanimous to assist the government in implementing the code of conduct for TV channels. Senator Farhatullah Babar said the draft for the code of conduct was prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and would be the first of its kind in Pakistan, if launched.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed the committee that the draft law of the code of conduct for electronic media was ready, and a copy had been sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the president of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) for further consideration and input. Chairman of the committee Kamil Ali Agha and other members expressed displeasure over the “continuing delay in the issuance of the code of conduct”.
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Muhammad Azam told the committee that the ministry is holding a meeting with the PBA this week for consultations. “If the PBA is given time for consultation, other stakeholders would also demand time for consultation,” Agha remarked. He further directed the ministry to finish the work as early as possible.
The committee also suggested the PEMRA chairman to take action against all TV channels, which have violated code of conduct, particularly while airing foreign contents.“It should be a continued process, and on every violation a show-cause notice should be issued to the violators.”
PEMRA Chairman Pervaiz Rathore told the committee to check show-cause notices already issued to different TV channels. But the chairman of the committee directed to ensure implementation of the code of conduct to all TV channels at all times. 
He also asked PEMRA to clarify the government’s stance regarding its treatment of channels differently. He claimed there are reports that some channels are given more importance than others, and asked to stop such behaviour. The committee also recommended PEMRA to issue special instruction to all private TV channels to air special messages on military operation in North Waziristan Agency, solidarity with forces, and for sovereignty of the country. 
The committee discussed in detail transfer and posting of some senior employees of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation in Current Affairs and Programme sections. After a long discussion, the committee directed the PBC DG to provide details of changes of staff in Radio Pakistan, and to also provide details of permissions sought to carry on such large scale changes of the PBC employees.
The committee also directed the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation to provide details of hiring skilled people (anchor persons) on higher packages on the basis of ratings, which they said is not the right way of judging a person’s value. Due to incomplete information by PTV on related issues, the committee is pending till next meeting.

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