ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Monday took serious notice of “regular campaigns” being launched against parliamentarians on social media and partly on electronic media.
The committee meeting, held under the chairpersonship of MNA Javaria Zafar Aheer, noted that “malicious media campaign” mainly on social media had been launched against elected representatives and these campaigns should be probed and stopped.
The committee noted with concern that fake social media news was now in circulation about a secret meeting between the prime minister and Pakistani officials with Israeli officials in Doha.
The committee decided that official directives would be issued to the secretary of interior, director general of FIA, director of cybercrime wing, FIA, chairman of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take action against “anti-state” characters behind such social media campaigns.
The secretary of information, Shahera Shahid, briefed the committee about malicious media campaign mainly on social and partly on electronic media about the parliamentary delegation’s visit to Canada in connection with the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC).
The committee members condemned this “planned” media campaigns against NA delegation’s visit to Canada, the Prime Minister Office and news about a secret meeting between the prime minister/Pakistani officials with Israeli officials in Doha. The members of the committee said they suspected Indian media campaign against flood relief activities of UN in Pakistan.
The chairperson of the standing committee, Ms Javaria Zafar Aheer, claimed that these media campaigns were not targeted against any party or institution, “but against Pakistan”.
“The parliament and parliamentarians require cooperation of the government and private media organisations as such campaigns have been launched to create a trust deficit between the masses and elected representatives and these are detrimental to the sanctity of the parliament,” she said.
The committee deferred three government bills: The Motion Pictures (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and The Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation (Amendment), 2020, as the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb could not attend the meeting.
The chairperson of the committee said that these important legislative businesses would be considered by the committee when the information minister was present.
The committee meeting was attended by Armaghan Subhani, Saad Waseem, Nadeem Abbas, Zaib Jaffar, Maiza Hameed, Kiran Imran Dar, Dr Nafisa Shah, Zulfiqar Ali Behan and Naz Baloch.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2022