PTA: guardian of moral values?

Published: August 30, 2013
Email
PTA's intervention, sms and call packages banned PHOTO: FILE

PTA's intervention, sms and call packages banned PHOTO: FILE

The obsession with morality in our country is rather alarming. This is especially so when it is put before other needs and priorities. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority which in November last year had banned night-time call packages provided by mobile phone service operators on the rather dubious grounds that these were used for ‘immoral’ purposes, has now moved a step further in its ‘big brother’ approach to life. A directive from the Director General PTA bars all operators from offering any call or SMS packages at any time of the day and seeks a compliance report to be submitted by September 2nd.

The measure is absurd. Phone packages, offering cheap communications at particular times or other incentives, are used by millions of consumers. Lower income groups, in particular, benefit from them, but many others from across the economic spectrum use them as well. Of course, as is the case in almost any kind of service, misuse at some level is possible. This has happened in past years, when only landlines were available. It almost certainly happens now with mobile phone services, too. But it is no business of the PTA to intervene in this or attempt to determine how people use their phones. It is also certainly not its business to determine what constitutes immorality or obscenity. The definitions can vary, individual users are responsible for their behavior and number blocking services are offered by providers to deal with harassment or other issues. There appears to be no justification at all for the PTA’s intervention — which will also, of course, cut into profits made by service providers.

The PTA needs to seriously rethink its role. This should certainly not constitute ‘policing’ society, but instead, should be focused on ensuring that quality services are offered to providers. There is plenty of room for improvement in this sphere. The Authority should concentrate on this and move away from its odd obsession with ‘morality’. This area lies beyond what is expected of it and the new ban can only hinder people everywhere who wish to communicate for all kinds of purposes, ranging from personal matters to business dealings.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2013.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • sajid jadoon
    Aug 31, 2013 - 1:42AM

    so the obsession with immorality is a good omen for you people `{holier than thou}

    Recommend

  • PiS
    Aug 31, 2013 - 4:48AM

    Many of the state organizations are run by folks with extremely conservative moral values which they try to enforce on the broader society. Whether it’s PTA, IT, ECP or Punjab text books board, we need strong laws enforced on these organization so they operate in their given mandate instead of meddling into life of odinary Pakistanis. At the moment, Zia lives and florishes in each of these bodies.

    Recommend

  • Ahmad Mustansar
    Aug 31, 2013 - 8:43AM

    Just as the government in Pakistan is always the guardian of religion as well…!

    Recommend

  • Utkarsh
    Aug 31, 2013 - 10:20AM

    @sajid haroon
    What’s your definition of immorality? Where does this definition get its authority?
    If you think boys and girls talking is immoral, then I feel sad for you, and if that’s the view of most Pakistanis then I feel sad for Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Amazed
    Aug 31, 2013 - 11:11PM

    Well who wrote the article kindly identify or the mobile companies paid you for the article to redefine immorality in their drive to promote revenue maximization through each minute and hourly updates of bollywoods, sports, promotional sms thus completely invading the privacy of consumers..

    Recommend

  • sajid jadoon
    Sep 1, 2013 - 2:27AM

    @Utkarsh:
    i don’t oppose romeo and Juliet love story.i just pointed out the poor approach of our media. they see every thing from their very own spectacle

    Recommend

  • Maqsood Kayani
    Sep 2, 2013 - 12:13AM

    I am surprised that a journal of Express Tribune’s stature would trivialize something sensible that, for once, PTA was going to enact i.e. curtail the free late-night call packages being dished out by cell-phone operators just so the users would acquire their connections.
    Have you not seen what adverse affects these free late-night call packages are having on the youth of Pakistan ? They are being converted into zombies; awake chatting all night and sleepy / drowsy during the classes, hardly able to assimilate anything the teachers are teaching in the class.
    The affected youth sleep it off all day over the weekends as they have been up all night. Those who have jobs or are just starting off with their careers are not alert at all or can hardly keep their mind on the job. The parents are virtually helpless in checking this evil.
    I am not against the SMS packages but the free late-night call packages have got to be stopped altogether and the calls be charged fully, the same rates as the day-time calls. That should put an end to this gross waste of time and pull the parents out of their misery.

    Recommend

  • Klingon
    Sep 17, 2013 - 12:47AM

    As an Indian muslim, I fully support this measure. My Pakistani brothers would do well to stop late-night immorality. I wish my grandparents had emigrated to Pakistan, where I could have lived in the true Islamic way, refraining from late-night chatting, etc.

    Recommend

More in Editorial