Islamabad - Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on IT, Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar on Wednesday said that Axact’s scandal is a proof that some black sheep have entered into media industry, adding the government should investigate applicant and his/her source of income before granting any new media licence.

“Journalism is a very noble profession, we pay tributes to the great journalists like Hameed Nizami, Majid Nizami and others who despite limited resources never compromised on truth, but today we see some other elements have entered into this righteous profession. My committee would request the government to form a committee to investigate the applicant and his/her source of income before granting any new licence of television, radio or newspaper,” said Safdar while chairing the standing committee meeting.

He was commenting on Pakistan-based IT company Axact, which has been allegedly selling fake professional degrees online.

The meeting, which was called on one point agenda to have a final discussion on Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill 2015, could not reach any consensus as opposition members of the committee tried to have more sessions, an apparent tactic to gain more time, while the government side pushed hard to finalise discussion on the bill so that it could be sent to the parliament.

“I understand we all are under pressure. I am also under pressure and cannot tell you from which level I have been pressurised and asked not to pursue the bill. But I have clearly told them I would pursue it,” said Safdar without naming who is pressurising him. “We had six meetings on this single bill and see even half of committee members are absent,” Safdar said.

Shazia Marri, who had been very vocal against the bill, finally accepted after discussion that bill was need of the hour; however she insisted on gaining some more time.

Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman highlighted requirement for the new bill and said if the bill would have been approved, the episode of Axact could be avoided.

The committee finally decided for a final consultation on the bill in the next meeting.