ISLAMABAD  - The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Monday asked the government to implement media code of conduct before the July 15 and submit a compliance report in the next meeting of the committee.

Additional Secretary Information Chaudhry Azam briefed the committee on the issue of implantation of media code of conduct and he said it would be implemented after the consultation with Pakistan Broadcasting Association.

Chairman committee Senator Kamil Ali Agha said representative of PBA and other stakeholders had attended the last meeting of Senate committee and the former secretary information Dr Nazir Saeed assured the committee that media code of conduct would be implemented within a day or two but it was not done.

The acting PEMRA chairman briefing the committee said that PEMRA issued the notices and fined all those channels which were running the foreign contents without approval and authority would take action and register cases against those channels which are running the foreign contents despite warnings.

While addressing the media after the meeting, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said that media houses should form their own accountability mechanism on the pattern of Ombudsman system in the UK media.

Talking about the code of conduct for TV channels, he said that the government has been trying to create consensus on the matter before its implementation and noted that there was a need to strengthen PEMRA. He said recently 23 TV channels were fined by the PEMRA, but only Geo Group paid the fine and accepted the punishment given by PEMRA but the rest of 22 went to court and got stay orders. The minister said that cable operators’ job was to provide transmission to the consumers and only masses had the right to decide which channels they wanted to watch. The cable operators had no right to create hurdles in the smooth transmission of signals of all satellite channels and if they would not stop this illegal practice, the PEMRA may be asked to cancel their licences and take legal action against them, he added.

He said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan should play more active role in electoral reforms committee of the Parliament as change would come from the parliament, not the street politics.

In Pakistan, there is rule of law and mechanism for everything has been given in the constitution and Imran Khan will have to come to the parliament and its committee on electoral reforms. He said that the government will support every step that will help make the electoral process in the country more transparent.

Talking about the IDPs, the minister said that there could not be an alternative to one’s home but the government was taking care of all the IDPs and their needs. He said that the government was providing financial assistance to the IDPs so that they do not feel shortage of cash and edibles in the camps.

Responding to a question, the minister said that if the federal government would not have taken steps for provision of adequate facilities to IDPs, Imran Khan would not have been able to visit their camps so easily.

Responding to another question, he said that the government has taken several steps to control prices of essential items and that was the reason behind stability in prices of flour, sugar, ghee, edible etc. About CNG shortage, he said that by December LNG will be introduced which will help ease CNG demand and provide relief to the consumers.