Govt can’t interfere in PEMRA affairs: minister

* Law Ministry conveys opinion on Geo TV row to Information Ministry

ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Wednesday that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had full authority to resolve issues relating to the Geo network, adding that it 
was an independent body and the government did not want to interfere in its matters.
Rashid has said that the Law Ministry has conveyed its point of view on the issue relating to Geo TV to the Information Ministry. Talking to media, the minister said that a commission is being worked out to ensure implementation of the PEMRA laws. The Law Ministry has approached the Information Ministry for its recommendations on the issue, Rashid said.
He said the army was a respectable institution and one should avoid those who are engaged in disparaging its reputation. He added that the army carried the flag of the country and not of some political party. The information minister said the matter relating to the Geo TV is under consideration of PEMRA committee and the government does not want to interrupt its working. He said decision of the committee would be final. The information minister said the Pakistan Army has no political agenda as a national institution, and urged media to unveil the faces who are trying to indulge army in the politics.
Rashid said a commission for media code of conduct would be constituted after PEMRA recommendations. He said taking all media owners on board regarding media code of conduct is his responsibility. He said that he gives great importance to Shaista Lodhi’s apology over the “inadvertent mistake” in her morning show, and asked the nation to forgive her. “In civilised societies an apology is a vow that the mistake would not be repeated in the future,” Rashid said.
The minister’s statements come in the midst of the media crisis that has been gripping the nation for a month and that took a turn for the worse on Tuesday evening when a meeting held by a few PEMRA members announced the suspension of licences of Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Tez of Geo network. PEMRA management had later declared the meeting illegal, adding that any decisions taken by it were null and void. A PEMRA spokesman, moreover, said that a meeting on the issue could not be held until the Law Ministry gave its opinion on the matter.

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