ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on information has called for enactment of a defamation law to discourage media trial of politicians and others as well as to strengthen the electronic media regulator.
The committee, headed by Senator Faisal Javed, was briefed by Senator Rehman Malik, who was invited as a special guest, on Friday.
Rehman Malik had lodged a complaint against what he called continued character assassination of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership by the media.
“The issue is that there has to be deterrence for electronic media against careless reporting,” he said, adding that “nobody has the licence to insult others and primarily the victims of this irresponsible reporting are politicians".
Supporting his call, the committee’s chairman said sweeping statements were passed on talk shows. Senator Rubina Khalid said besides the politicians, bureaucrats too were subjected to unilateral bashing in certain programmes.
Members of the committee from across the political spectrum, however, stressed that they supported freedom of media and freedom of expression, but the regulator had to be strong enough to stop “misconduct on screen”.
Senator Rehman Malik said: “We all need to understand two things. First, everybody in media is not violating the code of conduct and we need to stop a few such persons by penalising them. Second, I predict that the problems being faced by PPP and PML-N will eventually be faced by the PTI too.”
He called for strengthening the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).“There has to be certain parameters in reporting news and media trial.”
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2018