Salaries of media workers: Govt to introduce law for Pemra, says Marriyum

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday said the government was introducing a law for the Pemra to bind TV channels regarding salaries of media workers and make the rating system of TV channels more transparent as per a Supreme Court of Pakistan verdict.

She said the law would be amended, taking all stakeholders into confidence. She said this while speaking at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, which met here at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed of the PTI.

The ministry officials gave a briefing on classification of advertisements issued to print and electronic media during various periods. They said government advertisements were distributed as per the ranking formulated as per the supreme court decision. The minister said the decision on government advertisements was taken in accordance with the viewership of channels and all records were on the ministry's website.

Faisal said: “Government ads are used to influence media editorial policy. According to data from 2013 to 2018, there is a discrepancy in the policy,” he charged and said justice was not done in respect of advertisements in the print media and added: “We made payments for advertisements to channels subject to the salary of media workers.” He convened the Joint Action Committee of the ministry at the next meeting.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui said that first decide whether government advertising was the prerogative of channels. ABC was unreliable. Ghost newspapers were also given ads. This matter should not be made political. The issue of salaries and advertisements of media workers was a human issue and must be resolved.

Senior anchor persons of electronic media informed the committee about registration and harassment through alleged fake FIRs against them. Faisal summoned the IGs and FIA officials in the next meeting of the committee.

The Pemra chairman told the committee that complaints were made against 120 cable operators and letters had been written by the Pemra to all the operators. Action was under way against 10 cable operators.

The media representatives were of the view that the closure of broadcasts in cantonment areas was a serious matter. Faisal issued instructions to the Pemra to restore the broadcast at the earliest and complete action against the 10 cable operators.

He stressed the need to implement the Journalist Protection Bill and said that the bill should be implemented under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Marriyum Aurangzeb said the ministry was working on the rules of the Journalist Protection Bill on a war footing and the work would be completed soon.

Faisal issued instructions to the state-run TV to run special broadcasts to expose Indian atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The committee considered the progress made on the issue of felling trees at the Radio Pakistan office. The minister said that felling of trees was a sad act and a shameful campaign was launched on digital media against Senator Irfan Siddiqui for raising the issue. She said trees were a national asset and a committee headed by the joint secretary had been set up within the ministry to investigate the matter. Faisal sought details from the ministry officials regarding the coverage of provincial governments on the state-run TV.