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Media comes in for criticism in a 'hurt' NA

07 March, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The lawmakers in the National Assembly criticised the media for what they called is its irresponsible behaviour against the parliamentarians, on Wednesday.

The assembly also unanimously adopted a resolution against anchorpersons in the electronic media. Although the House was supposed to hear Interior Minister Rahman Malik on the massacre of Shia community's members in different terrorist attacks, it spent all its time on the media and came down hard on it for using "insulting and derogatory language against the political entities".

The debate on media and conduct of some anchorpersons was triggered by Federal Minister for Technical Education and Vocational Training Shiekh Waqas Akram, who objected to use of indecent remarks by an anchorperson in his talk show. Following a detailed and lengthy discussion, with sharp criticism of media and anchorpersons' role, the House passed with consensus a resolution moved by Sheikh Waqas Akram, Abdul Qadir Baloch and Bushra Gohar at the end of the day's proceedings.

The resolution noted that it was against all those anchorpersons who were telecasting programmes against parliamentarians and other entities without verification of the facts, and for some personal agenda, ulterior motives or some unlawful gains. "Such anchorpersons have been exposed for their non-professional conduct and the House strongly condemns such anchorpersons and demand from the owners of media houses to expel them forthwith besides other due action," the resolution noted.

The House, which is usually divided on various issues, showed complete unanimity of views against the media and certain anchorpersons for what was said to be their irresponsible reporting and remarks. It was even backed by Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza who suggested that the media should behave decently while reporting on parliamentarians. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rahman Malik, hurt by a piece of news against him also lashed out at media and suggested that proper legislation should be carried out to prevent the bashing of parliamentarians by media and anchor persons.

Sheikh Waqas Akram sounded harsh while talking about the media, particularly what he termed propaganda in a section of media over fake degrees and indecent remarks of an anchorperson. PML-N's Abdul Qadir Baloch suggested that all parliamentarians should boycott the anchorpersons who "humiliate" them, and pointed out that such anchorpersons are "for sale". PML-Q's Sardar Bahadur Khan Sihar noted that using indecent language for parliament is akin to abusing democracy.

Meanwhile, Kashmala Tariq said that defamation laws should be strengthened to curb this practice. ANP's Bushra Gohar also called for boycotting the talk shows of such anchorpersons. MQM's Asif Hasnain was of the view that without evidence no one can be allowed to malign the parliamentarians in their talk shows. Earlier, the government hinted at reopening video-sharing website YouTube when Defence Minister Naveed Qamar told the House that the government might reconsider the decision to ban the website before its term ends.

The YouTube issue was raised by PPP's Shazia Marri who pointed out that the ban on the website has deprived people of a research and information tool. However, she condemned the sacrilegious video uploaded on it last year. Responding to a calling attention notice, State Minister for Water and Power Tasneem Querashi told the House that the current load shedding spell was caused by low production from hydropower, thermal and IPP units.

End.

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