ISLAMABAD: Terming the use of drone-cameras illegal, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) informed National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting that these drone-cameras — being used extensively by TV channels in recent days — breach both security as well as privacy of citizens.
The Pemra officials said that the authority has time and again asked the management of TV channels to abide by the rules and regulations but they don’t follow it — show-cause notices have also been served upon the management of these channels in this regard.
“The drone-cameras used by TV channels are illegal and against the rules set by Pemra. Channel owners have to get advance permission from the interior and defence ministries for using such technology,” said a senior Pemra official while briefing the committee.
However, the Pemra officials didn’t have any answer when the committee members asked, “why these cameras are regularly used by TV channels in various events including the sit-ins in the federal capital?”
The Pemra officials said, “We have asked the TV channels and their managements to avoid using this technology and also asked police for taking action against this illegal act.” Red Zone is a sensitive place and using drone-cameras there is a matter of concern in terms of security, but the channels don’t follow the regulations, they added.
Under the law, Pemra can restrict any one from using such technologies as per the rules if it deems necessary.
Besides, the standing committee chairperson Marvi Memon and other members criticised Pemra for not taking any action against the TV channels which are telecasting provocative speeches of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan during their sit-ins.
“Are you not the independent regulatory authority? Why haven’t you taken action against the broadcast of hate speeches of Dr Qadri and Imran,” asked committee member and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Talal Chaudhry.
“The drone cameras not only breach the security protocols, but even violate the privacy of those people who live in the surrounding areas,” he noted.
The committee also condemned violence against media-persons by police during the sit-ins. Inspector General Police Islamabad Tahir Alam Khan publicly apologised for the act and said that cases have been registered against the Punjab Police and for the identification of the personnel we have sought help from NADRA.
Committee chairperson, on the suggestion of the MD PTV Mohammad Malik, decided to invite media owners and their management to the committee meeting next time for developing a security strategy for the working journalists, who often become victim of violence perpetrated by both parties — protesters as well as security agencies.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2014.