Wednesday October 20, 2021

Code of conduct violation: ECP asks Pemra to act against private channels

April 30, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Thursday asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take action against those private TV channels, which violated the code of conduct, aired unofficial and unconfirmed results of NA-249 by-election before 6:00pm.

According to the Election Commission spokesman, the electoral body had given instructions to the media regulatory body to initiate action against these channels.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has condemned the advice of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), threatening media outlets of legal action against what the authority called fake, unauthentic and speculative news, says a press release.

In a statement issued on Thursday, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi questioned the rationale of issuing such advice. They said such advice reminded the rule of dictatorial regimes that used every coercive state tool to stifle the freedom of expression. “Prime Minister Imran Khan claims that his government believes in strong democratic traditions but such use of executive authority flies in the face of Khan’s claim. The Prime Minister should realise that such advice do not create a positive image of the government,” they said in a statement. Zulfiqar and Zaidi said there are forums where the matter of fake and unauthentic news could be raised.

“Media persons always try to get the stance of the government people but it has been noticed that in some cases they are reluctant to confirm or deny a certain piece of news. Once such piece has been published or aired then they come up with refutation and issue condemnation. “If the news item were not correct then the government people should have offered their own opinion, either denying or confirming the news. There is no rationale for criticising journalists if they have approached the government officials for comments,” they said. The leaders of the journalists' fraternity demanded of the government to withdraw the advice, declaring it against the articles of the Constitution that guarantee freedom of expression.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has taken notice of recent stance of Pemra and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors in connection with reporting of Cabinet briefing. The ministry has asked Pemra to submit reports about its stance, while directed Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Editors to furnish details of its opinions, says a press releas The ministry will keep playing its role for promoting freedom of expression, access to information and as a bridge between media and government.