Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has started a new learning program called “Code of Conduct – A Collective Responsibility” from today to discuss the Electronic Media Code of Conduct 2015 and to get the feedback from the relevant stakeholders on improving the regulatory function of the PEMRA and to connect them with the authority.
The first meeting was held at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad with the staff of the local TV channels and in the next few months, the team will go to the other provinces for holding this kind of sessions.
In the session, the officials discussed how fake news stories and fake pictures are badly affecting the media industry and what is the role of social media in journalism. The responsibilities of the journalists were also discussed.
“We receive most of the complaints about TV channels. In 2016, we received 3785 complaints and many people think that PEMRA is very strict but we suspended the transmission of just one TV channel, banned one anchorperson, and imposed just 20 fines in one year,” said chairperson PEMRA Absar Alam.
He said that 84% of the people in Pakistan watch just news headlines and then shift to entertainment channels, they are not interested in the detailed news stories. Gone are the days when people used to watch just political programs. Nowadays, the preference is given to the entertainment channels, he stated.
In the session, the anchorpersons and journalists including Hamid Mir, Saleem Safi, Umer Cheema, Fereeha Idrees, Matiullah Jan, and many others discussed the role of social media. According to the journalists, the social media should be used for the positive purposes and the electronic media should avoid airing the fake news stories, which are based on the social media posts.
Moreover, the Civil society members and students were also invited to the session to share their concerns and to give their feedback on the effective implementation of Electronic Media Code of Conduct.
PEMRA is taking important steps for improving the Pakistani media. The authority is serious for controlling the fake news stories, recently it suspended the transmission of a Lahore-based news channel, which reportedly aired false audio clips claiming that they belong to the crashed ATR plane of PIA. Lahore High Court later issued the stay order to the channel.