Parliament proposes code of conduct for media

Parliamentarians proposed a code of conduct for the electronic media to restrict their graphic coverage of terror attacks.


Afp June 30, 2010

Parliamentarians proposed a code of conduct for Pakistan's electronic media to restrict their graphic coverage of terror attacks, on Wednesday.

According to Presidential spokeswoman Farahnaz Isphani, the code is not an attempt to control the media and that it will similar to one ‘practised all over the world’.

She also said that the new rules had been listed in a report by the committee that would become a bill in parliament's next session, in August.

Among the restrictions, the bill also proposes repealing a law against journalists defaming Pervez Musharraf, the army or the government, on penalty of a five-million rupee fine.

Isphani defended the proposed restrictions, saying that "nowhere in the civilised world are murderers, terrorists and extremists given air time on the electronic media to expound their views.

"The Pakistani nation, our government and our military are fighting and facing death at the hands of these anti-state actors every day. Thousands of innocent Pakistanis have already died in this war.

"Showing dead, mutilated corpses and other extreme pictures and videos give psychological strength to the extremists and cause emotional grief to the people of Pakistan," she said.

The proposed amendments will "bar the media from broadcasting video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and other acts which, may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism."

The committee suggested that violators of the code be punished with a fine of up to 10 million rupees and imprisonment of up to three years for repeated violations, she said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had promised he would undo the media law introduced by Musharraf after he imposed emergency rule in November 2007.

COMMENTS (6)

Tahira | 11 years ago | Reply I hope this code of conduct passes into a bill. The Pakistani media needs to follow the same restrictions that are followed by Medias in other countries. They should not be allowed to abuse their position in power. Freedom of speech should not be used as means to propagate hatred. It is about time that the Pakistani government has thought about this amendment. From what I understand the purpose of the amendment is to ensure that ‘extremists are not given air time on the electronic media to expound their views, and not in anyway, promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism.’ So I hope this ban will include Mullahs that propagate hatred towards Ahmadi Muslims on Pakistani television, because most of the time they are given a free pass to do anything by the government. I believe the media should be given consequences for what they do. There have been Mullahs that came on television shows and have openly declared Ahmadis “Wajibul Qatl” or “deserving of being killed”. (Recently a TV show host, Mubshar Luqman in his show Point Blank invited Mullahs that propagated hatred of Ahmadi Muslims). The Mullahs have used media as a tool to spread hatred and violence against a minority group. I do not know if the media realizes that by doing this sort of things, they are actually advocating the killings of innocent people. I really hope this amendment passes into a bill.
Abdullah Wiqar | 11 years ago | Reply This is a bad move for the media. The bill needs to be further refined. The tenets of the bill need to be specific and precise and should be criteria based so as to remove subjectivity from them. As it stands now, the bill can be and take my word for it, will be, abused and politicized eventually.
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