ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Thursday asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ensure implementation of electronic media code of conduct keeping in view sanctity of the holy month of Ramazan and put complete ban on Indian advertisements.

The Senate body met in the chair of Senator Kamal Ali Agha in Parliament House and discussed various issues related to information ministry.

Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb told the committee that internal editorial committees in all news channels had been activated to ensure compliance of Pemra code of conduct, promoting interfaith harmony and dignity in the holy month of Ramazan.

To a question regarding ratings mechanism of satellite TV channels, she said Pemra had no link with the rating mechanism of the satellite news channels rather it was domain of Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications (DEMP).

She said the government was the largest advertiser and there was a need to have data regarding rating of the channels as it was imperative for fixing the advertisements rates.

Senator Rubbina Khalid raised the point about less content for children programmes on Electronic media. She said that there was dearth of children related content on electronic media but in coming few months, PTV and Radio Pakistan would start new children-specific programmes.

The committee expressed its concern over the PTV Board of Governors decision to give additional powers of Managing Director (MD) PTV to its Chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi. The committee opined that it was an illegal decision which should be looked into and action be taken as per law.

The minister assured the committee that she would look into the matter and if any illegality had been committed, appropriate action would be taken. She said that process for appointment of new MD PTV will begin next week and till then the charge would be given to the information secretary.

While discussing electronic media code of conduct, the committee asked the ministry to try to find out the copy of the same.

Adviser to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Division Irfan Siddiqui informed the committee that the code of conduct was implemented on the directives of the Supreme Court.

The committee asked PEMRA to ensure its implementation and ask all the television channels to fully activate editorial monitoring committees in their respective organisations.

On the issue of payment of pensions to Lok Virsa employees, Secretary Information Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera said that it was an issue of the poor people and he would settle it on priority basis.

The meeting was attended by Farahtullah Babar, Nehal Hashmi, Rubina Khalid, Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Ghous Bakhsh Niazi, Dr Karim Ahmed Khawaja, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini and officials of information ministry.

Later, the information minister addressed a ceremony in the National Press Club in connection with Press Martyrs. She said the government was working on “Journalist Safety and Security Bill” to ensure security to media persons.

She said any attack on media is attack on Pakistan and the government will not tolerate it and provide foolproof security to journalists. She said that the incumbent government was taking steps for betterment of journalist community.

Aurangzeb paid rich tributes to the journalists who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and said the media has played a vital role in strengthening of democracy in the country.