Supplementary Recommendations by the Media Commission

Supplementary Recommendations by the Media Commission not included in the Executive Summary:

While the factors necessitating the following four recommendations have been referred to in Part-One of the Report and in the relevant earlier section of this Report dealing with TOR No. B i.e. reforms required with regard to PEMRA, the Commission places below four specific recommendations not included in the executive summary of Part-Two provided to the Court on 31st May, 2013 and delivered to the Court on 4th June, 2013:

1. That the Recommendations by the Commission regarding TOR No. F which covered aspects of media-related corruption and which sought to ensure impartial and independent media during Elections 2013 as submitted to the Court on 21st March, 2013 deserve attention and action even after 11th May, 2013 so that the imminent conduct of elections for Local Governments expected to be held in all four Provinces in 2013-14 enable media to render an impartial role and to prevent corrupt practices from adversely affecting the pre-election phase.

Supplementary Recommendations by the Media Commission/2. That PEMRA should formulate and introduce for debate, and eventual adoption, a new revenue model for electronic media, particularly TV channels so as to reduce the existing severe and exclusive dependence on advertising revenue alone, by making fees from viewers, subscribers, cable operators & distributors, and other sources also a principal source of revenue for TV channels. Reference may be made to similar revenue models that exist in other countries.

3. That PEMRA should also examine alternative options for credible TV audience measurement models and systems in order to expand and improve upon the existing excessive dependence on virtually a single ratings system that is urban-centric (and that too also being restricted to only three or four cities). There appears to be a dire need for an audience measurement system that adequately represents the rich diversity across Pakistan in terms of demographics, life-styles, professional groups and classes, linguistic and cultural features etc.

4. That the Pakistan Advertisers’ Society, Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association and PEMRA work together to ensure enforcement of the limits on commercial time specified by PEMRA Rules & Regulations so as to reduce the dominant presence of advertising in the content of electronic media as also to facilitate the formulation of an audience measurement system that is more representative of all citizens and regions of Pakistan as presently decisions by advertisers appear to play an unduly decisive role in determining programme content, presentation formats, modes of discourse etc.