ISLAMABAD: The government is planning to set up radio and television stations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to provide tribesmen a window of opportunity to show the world their culture and traditions, and to counter extremism.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan informed a parliamentary panel on Tuesday that the government wanted to change the mindset of people by curbing extremism from the region. “We need social change through media technology,” she said.
Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting also endorsed the idea and passed recommendations for launching FM radio stations as well as a TV station in Fata.
Pakistan Television (PTV), Radio Pakistan, the information ministry and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government will finalise the recommendations to kick off work on the proposed projects, Awan said. She added that the information ministry has planned to set up eight FM stations in the bordering areas. The communication system will telecast and broadcast its transmission in various local languages.
“This step will promote the idea of deradicalisation – an understudy programme to isolate youth from militancy,” observed Senator Tariq Azeem Khan. “It will lead tribesmen to reject extremism and embrace conventional ideology,” he added.
Secretary Information Taimoor Azmat informed the committee that the services of FM Radios and television stations will be located in Wana and Jandola in South Waziristan; Mandan in Orakzai Agency; Landi Kotel in Khyber Agency; Miranshah and Razmak in North Waziristan; Parachinar in Kurram Agency and Khar in Bajaur Agency.
A Senate panel, along with the finance ministry, will discuss the source of funding for the proposed projects to fulfill the government’s initiatives for the empowerment of social media. Chairman of the committee and JUI-F Senator Haji Ghulam Ali requested Director General Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) Murtaza Solangi and Managing Director PTV Yousaf Beg Mirza to chalk out a strategy regarding the new plan.
The committee also discussed the posts of PTV and PBC in Balochistan, after senators expressed dissatisfaction over the ambiguous record of recruitment in the province. The PBC has posted only three gazette officers from Balochistan, a senior official informed the committee. The committee sought detailed report on the issue within two weeks, directing the ministry concerned to follow rules while recruiting new staff.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.