ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday assured the Senate of an effective monitoring mechanism at Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to check obscene, sectarian and immoral content.
Winding up discussion on a motion regarding content management by PEMRA, the minister said an appropriate strategy was in place to monitor the content, though there was still need for improving the suo moto mechanism to check any material that might promote sectarian violence and immorality.
She said in case of violation of the code of conduct, PEMRA initiates legal action which includes issuance of advisories, warnings, notices, show cause notice, imposition of fine and revocation or suspension of licence under Section 29 and 30 of PEMRA Ord 2002 as amended by PEMRA amendment act 2007 and section 20 of PEMRA Ord 2002 as amended by PEMRA Amended Act 2007 read with clauses of electronic media ( Programmes and Advertisements) 2015 bars licenses from airing material promoting sectarian violence.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said whenever PEMRA finds any content violative of the Code of Conduct or any complaint was received by the viewers in this regard, an immediate action was taken.
Mentioning to section 29 and 30 of the PEMRA Act, the minister said, most of complaints were addressed but “we still have the room to further strengthen the suo moto mechanism and in house monitoring strategy”.
She said implementation of relevant laws was important as she mentioned to some instances where organization got temporary stay order and explained that when PEMRA effectively pursued such cases the situation was addressed appropriately.
The minister said to ensure better content, the government had also asked for making Editorial Content Committees functional and more effective to strengthen internal monitoring system within the electronic media organizations.
“Editorial Content Committees exist at all private sector channels and other media organizations. In such organizations where these committees were not active, they were asked to put this mechanism in place,” she added.
She said in line with the National Action Plan, a mechanism was evolved in the Information Ministry to monitor both print and electronic media, Broadcasters and other related media and meetings under this mechanism had been held at the Ministry in this connection.
She said the efforts of PEMRA had also raised awareness among people who complain about content that was in violation of the Code of Conduct and the Council of Complaints addresses these issues through necessary actions.
She said even the members could complain any time when they see any obscene advertisements, or a program promoting sectarianism or immorality.
“The ministry and PEMRA were the way out to address these issues and improve the content ensuring that no programme or advertisement was telecast which was against our norms and national interest”.