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

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