ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information said on Tuesday that TV news channels needed to train their staff, especially anchors, to enable them to follow the ‘code of conduct’ for media.
The NA committee met at the head office of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). Imran Zafar Leghari was in the chair.
Briefing the committee, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam asked its members to extend their support for effective regulation of certain non-journalistic programmes, like re-enactment shows, crime shows and entertainment reports at news TV channels.
“Many things are not allowed at news channels and that too during prime time,” he said, adding that many programmes on news channels were crossing even the censorship limits for cinemas.
The members inquired about action taken by Pemra against news channels showing such programmes.
Daniyal Aziz said that some news programmes had a format of two persons — one anchor and one analyst. “How can you fulfil journalistic ethics under this format in which there is no chance for the aggrieved party to present its point of view,” he added.
The committee noted that there was a need for a media tribunal to dispose of cases between Pemra and TV channels.
Currently, there are 372 cases pending in courts as many TV channels have obtained stay orders against Pemra decisions.
Over the past three months, Pemra has issued 28 advices to news, sports or entertainment channels, six warnings and 17 show cause notices and imposed 21 fines amounting to Rs3 million.
One news channel, which has been fined Rs1m for showing obnoxious and adult contents at its re-enactment programme, has obtained a stay order from the court.
The Pemra chairman said the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) had agreed to a ‘code of conduct’ in the apex court, but now it claimed that the code should only be implemented by PBA, and not Pemra.
“It has been conveyed to the PBA that Pemra will not implement the Code of Conduct. The channels should establish their credibility first and start abiding by the norms,” he added.
Pemra officials informed the committee that advertisers had repeatedly said that sensationalism was not an attractive idea.