LAHORE: South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) on Saturday held a seminar to analyse the Media Commission Report prepared by the media commission established on the directions on the Supreme Court. A copy of the report was also submitted to the Supreme Court.
SAFMA General Secretary Imtiaz Alam said, “Financial matters of the media are not transparent. The authority to place public advertisements should be de-centralised.”
Alam said the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) and Radio Pakistan should be free from government control. He said as many as 68 media laws needed to be amended.
Publisher Arif Nizami said, “Free media has been a success in Pakistan. The report has failed to address several serious issues completely.”
“Libel laws should be strengthened. The PTV, Radio Pakistan and the APP should be privatised,” Nizami said “Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) should independent of the Information Ministry.”
Nizami said in theory, PTV was a free enterprise but actually it was a media outlet of the government in power.
He said cross-media ownership had grown over the years.
He rejected the recommendation of the Media Commission report to stop issuance of licences to the upcoming channels. He said this would benefit some media groups at the cost of others.
He said he was not in favour of cancelling the Turkish and Indian content on the local TV channels.
Osama Siddique, a lawyer and a media critic, disapproved of the idea of going to courts for ‘self-regulation’. He said the notion was paradoxical.
Osama said the TV ratings mechanism was a problem. He said media should be answerable to the parliament and media laws must be consolidated because the laws had been misused in the past.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.