NA committee discusses performance of PEMRA, PID

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage here Thursday discussed different measures to improve performance of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Press Information Department (PID).

The meeting of the committee was held under the chairmanship of MNA Pir Mohammad Aslam Bodla.

The committee considered The Protection of Journalists Bill, 2014, moved by MNA Sahibzada Tariq Ullah and decided that the bill may be deferred due to non-availability of the mover of the bill.

The committee also considered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill moved by MNA Dr. Fouzia Hameed and decided that the bill may be deferred at the request of the ministry of information.

Secretary Information Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera said the ministry had introduced access to information bill.

He said the controversial measure like bill for regulation of print media would not be repeated again.

He said three officers of the ministry were removed for holding of a transparent inquiry about this bill.

The secretary told that a television channel for children would be launched.

MNA Parveen Masood Bhatti remarked that the private television channels had damaged the values of society, adding programmes of Pakistan Television reflected best values of the society.

The MNA said the television channels should respect the sanctity of Muharram in its programmes.

The secretary information assured that PEMRA had been directed to monitor programmes, being broadcast by different channels.

Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam informed that PEMRA had a law regarding airing of wrong news. However, PEMRA could not determine the authenticity of the news.

He said action on airing of wrong news was taken when a person files a complaint with PEMRA.

He said the interior ministry was not clearing new licenses for television channels due to different reasons.

Principal Information Officer (PIO) Saleem Baig briefed the committee

about the performance of Press Information Department as well as about

criteria of budgetary allocation of public sector advertisement on electronic and print media.

The committee showed its keen interest and asked many questions regarding PID. The committee recommended steps for improving the performance of Press Information Department.

The PIO said different sections of the information ministry were issued funds for advertisements to electronic and print media.

He said the information ministry issues advertisements to 1700 publications, adding about 60 newspapers were published in Islamabad.

He said 400 newspapers were delisted for not fulfilling the criteria.

MNAs Malik Shakir Bashir Awan, Mohammad Khan Daha, Mian Mohammad Farooq, Waseem Akhtar Shaikh, Tahir Iqbal Ch., Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Zeb Jaffar, Parveen Masood Bhatti, Arifa Khalid Parvez, Ch Mohammad Tufail, Syed Amir Ali Shah Jamote, Imran Zafar Leghari, Belum Hasnain, Naeema Kishwer Khan, Malik Mohammad Aamir Dogar and Dr. Fouzia Hameed attended the meeting.

Senior officers from the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Chairman PEMRA and Director General PIO with their staff were also present.