Jang Group denigrating PEMRA 

GEO TV No More LiesBy Qudsia Farhat 

The Jang Group has already earned the collective wrath of the nation by maligning the Armed forces and ISI but matters came to a head when they caused grievous hurt to the faithful by besmirching the family of the Holy Prophet (SAW). To rub salt in the wound, instead of rendering an unconditional apology to the nation and its institutions affected by its ceaseless tirade, the arrogant media group pleaded that others had also committed similar mistakes in the past thus justifying its own gross blunder.

Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA), which was approached by the Ministry of Defence to redress the grievances of the Armed Forces and ISI, when finally took action to shut down the offender group, Jang/Geo went on the warpath to denigrate PEMRA.

If one has to take an unbiased view of the extent of damage incurred by Jang group, one has to only observe the protest rallies taken out by people all over Pakistan. Even remote villages, rural community and small hamlets have installed banners condemning the Jang Group, demanding their shutdown.

True that the government is trying to remain neutral in the fray, perhaps it wants to avoid the closure of any media house but failing to judge the depth of the public sentiments is also a letdown of the confidence the people had reposed in the ruling party. People see their saviours the armed forces being slandered and defamed, they see their beloved Holy Prophet (SAW) and his family members being vilified and are seeking reparation.

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Instead, Jang Group has rendered a weak apology, which is neither here nor there, has too many caveats and conditions thus being totally devoid of any remorse or sense of repentance. Geo Group is still making premeditated efforts to discredit PEMRA. In this respect Mir Shakeel ur Rehman has wickedly planned to damage the prestige of the Armed Forces and ISI by rendering PEMRA a redundant body and ultimately use the media outlets owned by Jang Group to inflict serious damage to Pakistan’s National Security System. Unfortunately, the enemies of the state, which include global players and anti Pakistan foreign elements also have similar agenda against Pakistan’s Armed Forces and ISI. The nexus between RAW, MOSSAD, CIA, Afghan and Iranian intelligence agencies to defame Pakistan and its Armed Forces and foreign funding to Pakistani media personalities, certain newspapers and electronic media channels is well documented. These agencies consider the Armed Forces and ISI to be the lynchpin in securing Pakistan and feasible targets to be brought down or weakened. In their onslaught against Pakistan’s national institutions, it is perceived that an effective PEMRA will create a ‘win win’ position for the Armed Forces and ISI, despite the undue pressure being exerted by international as well as national organizations like the EU, HRCP, and others as PEMRA decisions being legitimate will have world wide acceptance.

An effective PEMRA would be able to check and block RAW or other inimical agencies’ funding Pakistani media circles. It will also obstruct objectionable propaganda contents by asserting its powers to cancel media licenses of TV channels and act as deterrence against mischief. Presently PEMRA board comprises 12 members including five Government nominated, four (Information and Interior Secretaries, PTA and FBR Chairmen, one Civil Society member) recommended by Chairman PEMRA and 2 others on Government’s advice but selected by Chairman PEMRA. This leaves a considerable void in having an across the board representation of the Pakistani milieu. The board lacks any representation from Intelligence agencies, religious scholars, anthropologists and culture experts who can identify foul play or other discrepancies of media channels. Hence, composition of the board merits modification by adding more members from relevant segments of society and the Government to undertake speedy and spot decisions.

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Under the circumstances, it has become imperative to reconstitute the board and empower PEMRA, making it capable of regulating media in an effective manner and competently protecting the prestige of own national institutions as well as the Pakistani society. It must be understood that electronic media is a powerful tool, which if let free with unbridled powers, can wreak havoc with the nation. We have seen that it is capable of inculcating seditious propaganda, introduce alien culture, launch hate campaigns and even bring down state institutions and governments. It thus needs effective regulation. The minds of people are sensitive and if subliminal or concealed programming at the behest of enemies of the state is carried out, it can result in causing irreparable damage.

Simultaneously, media trial of Armed Forces and the ISI should not be allowed under any circumstances. The image of Armed Forces and prestige of ISI is paramount. The Armed Forces are the custodians of the frontiers of Pakistan while the ISI is the first line of defence. They comprise humans, who are not infallible. If they commit mistakes, media cannot become judge, jury and executioner but if it finds evidence of wrongdoing, then it can resort to another state institution, the judiciary to redress the wrongs. An effective and powerful PEMRA should be fully empowered to monitor the electronic media.

National and international organizations should not be allowed to influence the legal structure of Pakistan by interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan and matters related to PEMRA. Protection of religious values, Islamic ideals and Pakistani cultural norms, ideological foundations of Pakistan including the Two-Nation theory, independence movement and history of Pakistan must be the guiding principles of all media programs in Pakistan. Controversial statements and derogatory remarks on the ideology of Pakistan should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

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Efforts should be made to control vulgarity being projected through media channels in the shape of Indian objectionable commercials of cosmetic products or by own advertising agencies. PEMRA must act to check nudity and prepare action plans to counter foreign cultural invasion on Pakistan. Youth must be guided positively through media. No media house must interfere in the working of PEMRA. If it has issues, they can be referred to the legal system.

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