Countering terror: Panel proposes wartime role for media

Change suggested to counter the narrative of extremists and terrorists in the country

Our Correspondent December 31, 2014


A parliamentary panel on Tuesday discussed wartime recommendations for the media to counter the narrative of extremists and terrorists in the country, while proposing changes in the existing laws governing public discourse and behaviour on broadcast and social media.

The issue came under discussion during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage that met with Marvi Memon in the chair.

“Among the issues discussed were the range of pre-existing sections of laws that, if implemented, would constrain the space for violent extremism and terrorism in the national discourse, such as Section 123 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002,” said a statement.

The proposed changes were drafted on the basis of the recommendations made in the previous meeting of the committee in which representatives from the Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, as well as experts on the media and public discourse participated.

During the meeting, representatives of Pemra and broadcasters urged to devise a unanimous strategy on how to ensure that 10 per cent of the programming of television channels would be dedicated to public service messages.

The committee asked Pemra and the broadcasters to devise a way to agree on the specific mechanism of determining “what constituted public service messaging”, as there was substantial discord on this point.

The committee also discussed proposals to “restrict the broadcast of any direct and quoted statements, confessions, threats of violence from the members of banned organisations”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2014.


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