a. In the case of electronic media, PEMRA has a three-fold responsibility whose fulfillment should be overseen by ECP.
(a) To ensure that license-holders of satellite TV channels abide by the terms on which licenses have been issued to them, failing which action should be promptly taken as per the law and rules.
(b) To exercise special vigilance during the final Election phase to monitor whether the Code of Ethics/Code of Media Conduct declared by ECP are being respected and practiced by electronic media and to report promptly to ECP when any violation occurs.
(c) To sensitize the 3159 plus Cable TV Distributors/Operators to the Code of Ethics/Code of Media Content declared by ECP and to ensure that any content in satellite TVchannels and on their own CD TV channels conforms to the defined best practices.
b. In the case of print media, the Press Council of Pakistan and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Caretaker Government have a special responsibility to monitor news content and advertising content in newspapers and magazines so as to keep ECP informed on a timely basis in case any violation of Codes are committed by print media. Both these entities should be so informed by ECP.
b. For Internet-based media, through official regulation and non-official cooperation:
a. Whereas the total circulation of daily newspapers in Pakistan is not estimated to exceed 1.5million copies with a readership of about 7 to 8 million people in a population of over 180 million, Internet users are presently estimated to be between 25 to 30 million people i.e. about treble the number of persons reading printed newspapers every day. A sizable number of the 25-30 million Internet users are estimated to be regular visitors to the websites of printed newspapers, TV channels and Radio channels.
b. In such web-based versions of other media and in the case of other social media on the Internet, the Ministry of Information Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority share the responsibility to ensure that, without curbing the freedom of expression which already exists in abundance on the websites and blogs accessed by Pakistani voters, minimal standards are observed of fairness and balance, taste and decency, integrity and impartiality.
c. However, enforcement in social media is possibly the most difficult form of enforcement because of the open-ended, seamless nature of the Internet. In extreme cases, access to sources such as parts of, or the whole of YouTube can be banned outright. But complete bans on universally-used sources such as YouTube are unfair and ill-advised. Pakistan needs to co-ordinate with YouTube management to agree upon procedures required for blocking access to specific content on YouTube which is, for instance, deliberately insulting or abusive of religious beliefs.
d. While it is hoped that no extreme provocation is unleashed on the Internet from any source outside or inside Pakistan inciting excessive reaction on the regulatory-front, it is recommended that ECP invite the following official and non-official bodies to sensitize them to their respective responsibilities regarding the role of content on the Internet and about the need to ensure that such content facilitates rather than prevents the conduct of free and fair elections:-
1. Ministry of Information Technology
3. Digital Rights Foundationhttp://digitalrightsfoundation.pkNighat Dad
4. Bolo Bhi www.bolobhi.org Sana Saleem, Farieha Aziz
5. P@SHA www.pasha.org.pk Naseer Akhtar (Chairman) Jehan Ara (President)
6. ISPAK (Internet service providers’ association)http://www.ispak.pk/Wahaj us Siraj
7. Bytes for All, Pakistan http://content.bytesforall.pk/ Shahzad Ahmed
8. ISOC Internet Society
9. Take Back the Tech… project of APC (Association of Progressive Communications) http://www.apc.org/
10. Blogap (Bloggers Association of Pakistan) http://groups.google.com/group/blogap/t/ Faisal Kapadia
11. DBTB (Don’t block the blog) www.dbtb.org Dr. Awab Alvi
12. Press Pakistan presspakistan.googlegroups.com
13. Any other similar forums.