ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage on Thursday asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra) to take notice of mudslinging on politicians on the electronic media.

The committee meeting was held under the chair of Aslam Bodla and reviewed the performance of different departments of the ministry of information.

Member Committee Naeema Kiswar said that the PEMRA only takes notice of the passing of derogatory remarks against the army and the judiciary. She said it should also take notice of those media persons who always remain busy in mud-slinging on politicians in their talk shows.

Replying questions, PEMRA Chairman Absar Alam told the committee that the rules and regulations of authority were very clear in this regard. He said that the PEMRA only takes action under the law after receiving complaints.

He said that the PEMRA was facing difficulties in issuing new TV licences due to the interior ministry’s tough criteria of clearance. He said that the interior ministry has not issued clearance to any TV channel in the last several years.  

Talking about airing the list of the Intelligence Bureau about Members National Assembly (MNAs) by a private TV, he said that the PEMRA has not received any complaint on the issue so far.

The information secretary said that the ministry has directed the PEMRA to monitor TV programmes.  

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

The committee also considered the “The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2017” (moved by MNA Dr Fouzia Hameed) and decided that the bill may be deferred at the request of the Ministry of Information Broadcasting, National History, and Literary Heritage till the next meeting. 

The information secretary further briefed the committee that the ministry was working on “The Protection of Journalists Bill, 2014”. He said the ministry had taken action against those officers who were involved in the preparation of the new print media ordinance. He said that according to the ministry inquiry, three officers were involved and the ministry has made them as OSDs.  

Committee |Member Muhammad Khan Daha said cartoon programmes were being shown in Indian dubbing.

The information secretary replied that the government was launching a new kid TV channel soon.   

The Principle Information Officer briefed the committee about the performance of the department as well as the criteria of budgetary allocation of public sector advertisements on electronic and in print media. He said that PID gives advertisements to 17,00 newspapers across the country and even though it has delisted more than 400 newspapers. 

The committee members unsatisfied with the briefing of the Principle Information Officer recommended that it will have to take steps for its improvement and best performance.

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