Some anchors, not TV channels, creating problems: PEMRA chief

Bol TV licence will be restored once it gets Interior Ministry’s clearance

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is in full swing and taking action on a number of issues including observance of code of conduct, journalists’ security and training, TV channels’ content monitoring and above all cautioning channels against spread of negativity.
Chairman of PEMRA Absar Alam, Friday, gave an outline of PEMRA’s job done so far during his tenure and underlined his priorities for the coming days. He was speaking during an informal chat with senior media persons of the town. To questions about imposing fine on a private TV channel and banning an anchorperson, Absar Alam who himself has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, said there are a few anchorpersons who are creating trouble not only for the PEMRA, themselves but also for their TV channels. Because of their so-called nuisance value, even their TV channel owners fear them, said he.
However, Absar Alam expressed his commitment that he would cut them to size and make them obey rules and regulations. Absar Alam in a frank and candid tone replied to a volley of questions by the media persons and shared with them his vision of how to transform the electronic media regulator into a living throbbing functional body. About PEMRA’s recurrent show cause notices to a number of anchors, he said “Some anchorpersons cross limits and use such language as is not permissible.
They naturally feel pleasure in exposing others but at the same time when someone exposes them they feel annoyed.” Absar Alam said he was pursuing the TV media persons’ case relentlessly with the owners of the media houses but his efforts would yield results only if the media persons also raise voice for their rights. Absar Alam viewed that out of a large number of talk shows and entertainment programmes, PEMRA has taken action against only few and they too were first sent a number of reminders and warnings and after receiving no response from them PEMRA had to take these steps. About ‘trouble-making’ anchorpersons, he said they are actually ‘parachute journalists’ who never did leg work nor remained as reporter or journalist. They joined the limelight of media without any training and assumed the role of anchor. This is why they have been creating problems, he said.
To a question, Absar Alam said the BOL TV will be issued licence only when the interior ministry clears it. Earlier after the fake degrees scandal the Interior Ministry had withdrawn their security clearance. Now if the ministry clears them we have no objection to issue licences to them, said Absar Alam. What is close to my heart, however, and I think every Pakistani feels deeply about is the projection of a positive image of Pakistan in the talk shows at private TV channels, he said.
“Again a few anchors with foreign passports posing themselves as great analysts speak against Pakistan and the Constitution of Pakistan which I think is not fair,” said Alam. We cannot allow any person whatever his credentials are to abuse Pakistan and PEMRA will come into action whenever it takes place.

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