In a world influenced through cyber-space and satellite and cyber-space technology, e-media has a very important and vital role to play in shaping the destiny and life of states. The visual media, particularly television, has a stupendous, impact upon moulding human views and minds. In the given situation the e-media has an burdensome accountability in addressing the socio-economic issues of societies and disseminating un-baised knowledge.
This accountability can be efficiently shouldered if the media treads the way of correctness and objectivity in transmission of its programs. In Pakistan, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has completed 8-year of its survival. During FY2010, the authority continued to play its role as a liberal regulator committed to enhance and facilitate far, free and independent media and to defend the interests of all stakeholders including the common public.
With the democratic government in place, the role of media has become even additional significant. It is hoped that information is the oxygen of democratic system and dissemination of information assists build public ideas. Authority is a constitutionally and independent organized federal institution accountable for issuing and regulating channel licenses for establishment of the mass-media culture, electronic and print media.
The authority has been organized under PEMRA Ordinance 2002. It has mandate to get better the standards of knowledge, entertainment and education and to expand the option obtainable to the citizens of the country including current affairs, religious knowledge, news, art and culture as well as science and technology updates.
Over the previous few eras the media sector has attracted a number of private investments and has made an important contribution in the GDP of Pakistan. According to a prediction there has been a cumulative investment of almost $2 billion in the e-media sector in the country. Latest jobs greater than 200,000 citizens of diversified qualifications and skills have been given. In addition, more than 7 million citizens have been accommodated by indirect employment. This growth in investment will in turn have a multiplier effect on raising career opportunities for skilled media journalists and personnel, enlarging work of media advertising agencies, production houses and proliferation of the performing arts. Although there is a debate in Pakistan as to what media should broadcast and what media it should keep away from, adepts believe the issue will always remain contentious.
The authority hopes in the power of television and latest technologies to bridge knowledge divide. Enhance diversity, and encourage respect for all sections of society. It has been mentioned that the degree of accountability that the media was predicted to demonstrate is missing. Quest to break news and taking edge over others Pakistani channels sometime consequence in fake and wrong reporting. There has been enhancement but it would take some time for media to exhibit the extent of maturity that is predicted of it.
The authority also controls distribution services for telecast in the country organized for the purpose of foreign, national, district, provincial and domestic or particular target audiences. Distribution of service indicates to the achieving of pre-recorded and broadcast signals from dissimilar channels and distributing them to subscribers by wireless, satellite or cable options including LMDS (local multi-point distribution service), cable TV, DTH (direct to home) and such other same technologies. Another significant of the authority is to control the distribution of international and domestic TV and radio channels in the country.
To enhance a strong competitive environment and dishearten monopolies, the authority prescribes rules and regulations for the distribution service operators and broadcast media. For example, no one can own greater than 4 TV channels. Unluckily cross media ownership is permitted since 2007 in contradiction to foreign practices. The Regulatory Authority releases licenses for distribution services and broadcast media in the categories such as: domestic region or community based TV and radio broadcast, foreign and nationwide scale stations, up-linking facilities adding teleporting, digital satellite news gathering (DSNG), specialized and specific subjects, distribution services and provincial scale telecast. PEMRA may allow any of its officials to enter the premises of any distribution service operator and broadcast media for scrutiny as these head-ends/offices are bound to remain open to make easy the assessments. PEMRA may suspend or revoke the license on non-payment of renewal charges or on the infringement of any of the provisions of the authority ordinance. It has the exclusive right to vary any of the rules and regulations of the license or grant predictions where it finds it suitable in the public interest.