Chaired by Senator Faisal Javed, the Senate Standing Committee on Information and broadcasting on Monday took stern notice of the hate speech delivered by Mian Javed Latif against former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan aired on PTV news on 13th September 2022. The committee which was held here at Parliament lodges directed the Ministry to identify the wrongdoer and called for taking legal action against those who are responsible. It was also directed to conduct an internal inquiry on the matter and submit a report to this committee within seven days, urging the Ministry officials to further enhance the “delay-mechanism” during the live feed. The Chairman committee and members from different political parties also discouraged the act of airing hate speech and remarked that such practices should be nullified and treated above party lines.
At the outset, the Chairman Committee expressed discontent and took notice of the continuous absence of the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriam Aurangzeb from the committee meetings, suggesting the Ministry for retaining a separate Minister for matters related to broadcasting. The Chairman committee observed that issues relating to broadcasting, salary and pension issues of the journalists are swelling and need to be addressed at the earliest.
The officials from Press Information Department (PID) presented the data related to the total amount spent by the Federal Governments on Ad-Campaign from 2013 to 2018 and 2018 to April 2022. The presentation irked a few members as only few local channels were enlisted and urged the official to also present the data of the Ad-spending pertaining to local tv channels. The chairman committee expressed displeasure over the disparity in Ad-distribution to channels that fall in the same category. The committee asked the concerned authority to work out the mechanism related to spending and distribution of Ads.
The report compiled by the officials regarding the cutting of various trees within the premises of Radio Pakistan, Rawalpindi was also tabled before the committee. The committee unanimously directed the Ministry for carrying out a further inquiry to identify the offenders and revert to the committee with details as to who was responsible and what actions have been taken against the fugitives.
On the matter related to not airing live the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister Punjab at President House was also taken up. After a detailed discussion on the subject, the Deputy Press Secretary of President House told the committee that a written reply on the matter will soon be submitted to this committee.
Deliberation also took place on the subject related to ceasing live Telethon Broadcast for fundraising of the flood victims. The Chairman Committee directed the officials to explain to the committee in the next meeting, that why Radio Pakistan and PTV have stopped broadcasting live telepthons for the flood victims.
The committee meeting was attended by Senators Irfan ul Haque Siddiqui, Naseema Ehsan, Anwar Lal Dean and Moula Bux Chandio. Additional Secretary/MD PTV, PIO PID, Chairman Pemra and representatives from Radio Pakistan and President House also participated.
The bill titled “ The protection of Journalists and Media professionals ( Amendment ) Bill, 2022” moved by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla was deferred due to the non-presence of the sponsor of the bill.