PEMRA told to act against channels

ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Friday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take action against those TV channels that, in deviation from rules, broadcast foreign content more than the prescribed limit.
The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Friday said that no one can stop PEMRA from implementing the agreements already signed while granting licenses to the TV channels. It said no court ever issued orders which prohibit PEMRA from implementing its code of conduct, including specific duration and time period for airing of foreign content. The committee met under the chair of Senator Kamil Ali Agha on chair. 
The committee expressed its displeasure over non-implementation of its recommendations regarding implementation of code of conduct for private TV channels. It said that its non-implementation means that corruption is on the rise in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which, Agha said, has been declared corruption-free by the PML-N government. PEMRA Chairman Pervez Rathore told the committee that there are dozens of cases in which the channels went to the courts against the authority. 
“About 55 show-cause notices and warning had been issued to various TV channels and most of them consulted the courts. While granting a TV licence, a person gives 26 signatures and agrees to meet all rules and regulation, but later on they do not care. Although the TV channels’ owners are well-educated, but they are not implementing PEMRA rules,” Rathore regretted. However, Senator Farhatullah Baber observed that there is no court order that bars PEMRA from taking any action while implementing its rules. 
“So action should be taken against violators for airing more foreign contents,” he remarked. The chairman of the committee said such instructions were issued eight months ago, but no action has been taken so for. It was decided that the ministry and PEMRA would provide details of the foreign content being aired on the TV channels after every 15 days, but not a single report was submitted in the committee. Agha said the ministry has totally failed to implement the recommendation for making a proper code of conduct for private TV channels. “The TV channels are earning billions of rupees, which shows that corruption is at its peak,” he said.

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