NA body shows concern over ‘irresponsible media reporting’

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges Wednesday expressed concern over the irresponsible attitude of media for airing unverified news linking the parliamentarians with banned organizations.

Rana Muhammad Qasim Noon chaired the committee meeting here at the Parliament House, which discussed the privilege motion moved by Mian Imtiaz Ahmed in the House regarding the news about the parliamentarians having links with banned organizations.

Besides Mian Imtiaz Ahmed, the meeting was attended by the committee  members Chaudhary Khadim Hussain, Chaudhary Mahmood Bashir Virk, Rana Umer Nazir Khan, Kiran Haider,  Maiza Hameed, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro,  Shagufta Jumani, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, S.A. Iqbal Qadri, Muhammad Ali Rashid and Asiya Nasir. Parliamentary Secretary Rana Muhamamd Afzal Khan and officials of different ministries and divisions were also present.

The committee unanimously decided to invite Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage and the Secretary Information to attend next meeting.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman informed the body that notices had been issued to the news channel concerned for airing the unverified news about the members of the National Assembly. The ‘irresponsible reporting’, he said, caused paralysis to one MNA while the rest were facing the internal and external pressure from family, friends and people of their constituencies, he added.

MNAs Shagufta Jumani and Faiza Hameed said the parliamentarians earned respect and honour with difficulty, but an ‘unverified news’ brought disrepute to them. The media should play a positive role for the betterment of the society, he added.

Jumani also alleged that an anchorperson of a private TV channel had levelled allegations against a woman parliamentarian without any proof, which was strongly condemnable.

The committee members observed that the media should show responsibility or otherwise PEMRA would be given powers to check it (media) from defaming democratic institutions and bureaucracy without any fact.

The committee chairman said the Authority should give instructions to news channels to work within limits of law of freedom of speech.

The committee suggested that private banks should provide facility to the parliamentarians for purchasing vehicles on lease.

The committee also disposed of a privilege motion of Ayesha Gulala regarding vilification campaign against her on the social media.

The committee recommended that it members should visit to all provincial assemblies to share mutual experiences, and to constitute a Parliamentary Committee of both Houses on Rules of Procedure and Privileges by the House.