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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Thursday directed the Pemra, PTV, and Radio Pakistan for running special transmissions for the flood affectees and extending relief to them.

The committee was chaired by Senator Faisal Javed, in which, he emphasised the role of the committee to help the flood victims. He said the PTV and Radio have an important role to play to help the flood affectees through running special transmissions by involving flood affectees and celebrities.

Regarding the off-airing of ARY news channel, the Chairman Committee directed the Pemra to lift the ban on ARY channel till matters and technicalities are settled with the cable operators.

Due to the closure of the channel, the livelihood of 400 employees is at stake, Javed stated.

The Chairman Committee expressed anger over the absence of the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and asked the secretary of Information and Broadcasting to ensure her presence in the next meeting. He recommended appointing a state minister for information and broadcasting so that the matters related to media and journalists are resolved and also to share the burden of the ministry.

Due to the non-presence of the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the issue related to the off-airing of the ARY channel was deferred till the next meeting.

Chairman Pemra said that the ARY news channel has some technical issues with cable operators, adding that ARY news has not yet finalised an inter-connect agreement with the cable operators that leads to off-airing the channel in some areas. The Chairman Committee underscored that there should be no restrictions on media and that the media persons should enjoy liberty while reporting the news.

The bill titled, “The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2022,” moved by Senator Saleem Mandviwala was deferred due to the absence of the sponsor of the bill.

Rescinding the explanation given by the director of PTV News for not live-telecasting the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister Punjab Pervez Elahi on PTV news, he showed his intent to call the officials of the President House Secretariat in the next meeting. The version of the officials from the President House Secretariat needs to be heard on the matter before concluding the matter, the chairman committee remarked.

The director PTV News apprised that the President House neither informed him or his office regarding the swearing-in ceremony at the President House. The chairman committee also sought footage that went on-air on PTV news pertaining to the oath-taking ceremony.

The committee was informed that the inquiry report regarding the cutting of trees in the Radio Pakistan, Rawalpindi office has been completed which will be discussed in the next meeting.

The matter regarding the approval of the service structure for PTV News correspondents inducted in 2015/2016 on a contract basis, raised by Senator Fida Muhammad was also deferred due to the non-presence of MD PTV News.

Senators Irfanul Haque Siddiqui, Anwar Lal Dean, and Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo attended the meeting. Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Joint Secretary Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Chairman Pemra, and other officials of the ministry also participated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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