Media reforms: Self-regulation mechanism stressed

Speakers agree on importance of commission’s views, but add one of their own.

Our Correspondent March 27, 2014
Speakers agree on importance of commission’s views, but add one of their own. DESIGN: SUNARA NIZAMI


Speakers at a launch event emphasised the need to implement the recommendations given by a media commission and also urged the need to bring in a mechanism for the media to self regulate.

The launch event for the print version of the “Report and Recommendations appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the reforms of the media sector January-June, 2013”, arranged by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Pakistan, Citizen Initiative on Media Issues (CIMI was held on Wednesday.

The speakers appreciated the recommendations of the media commission, but suggested self regulation of media is also important and a related law is required.

The commission was formed last year by the Supreme Court (SC) in response to a petition filed by senior journalist.

Former information minister Javed Jabbar, who was a member of the media commission, said the commission’s recommendations also questioned the role of advertisers. He added that the commission had worked in two phases. In the first, recommendations related to the media’s role in elections were given, while the second covered comprehensive reforms required in institutional aspects.

Jabbar said the electronic media is facing a vacuum in authentic public service broadcasting.

The role of advertisers in the media is alarming and advertisers have gained much space and time, Jabbar said, adding that media house owners need to understand that consumers also have rights. He pointed out that the media criticises political figures during news bulletins by using on-air songs and other sensationalist stunts, which should be stopped. He also said that each media house should have its own ombudsperson.

Marvi Memon, chairperson of the Standing Committee on Information Broadcasting and National Heritage, said the committee has passed on the commission’s recommendations. She said there are seven sub-committees which are related to affairs of media.

Journalist Hamid Mir, however, was not satisfied with the recommendations. He said that as the petitioner, he had demanded that the government abolish the ministry of information and its secret funds. He said that he would be happy if these recommendations should have been added to the book.

Information Minister Pervez Rashid said the government had abolished secret funds.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2014.


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