ISLAMABAD - The Sub-Committee of National Assembly on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage has directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ensure implementation of Supreme Court's decision on Code of Conduct (CoC) for electronic media.

Committee convener PPP MNA Imran Zafar Leghari chaired the meeting at the Pemra headquarters yesterday.

The Committee also decided to summon television owners to next meeting to seek explanation for the statements issued in support of Martial Law by an anchor. Some anchors were misusing the freedom enjoyed by the media, Talal Chaudhry added.

The Committee asked Pemra to ensure compliance of its code of conduct for television channels.

The meeting also looked into the administrative, financial and legal affairs of Pemra.

Committee member MNA Talal Chaudhry assured support of the Committee to PEMRA for implementation of the code of conduct.

He renewed commitment of his party and the govt to support freedom of expression in the country. "There will be no constraints on freedom of expression except reasonable restrictions given in the law," he added.

He said they supported journalists on issue of salaries owed by BOL channel.

Chairman Pemra Absar Alam said that the Parliament and court can take notice of anti-state statements made on televisions.

He said that there is difference of opinion on the code of conduct between Pemra and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA). At one stage, PBA said that it would self-regulate but after few months they refused to do it, he added.

When PEMRA started regulating the television channels, they went to courts and took stay orders, he added.

He said that media achieved its freedom by rendering sacrifices and now some anchors were making fun of it and were pursuing an agenda.

The Parliament has to play its role on this issue, he said, adding, some anchors were holding dual citizenship and talking against the constitution of Pakistan. Chairman Authority suggested that the amount of fine on television channels should be increased as was done by UK media regulator Ofcom which imposed penalty on media outlets according to their revenue.

He observed that if television channels wanted British standard of freedom of speech then they should also observe their standard of responsibility.

The Committee also asked that Pemra should give its legal opinion in the next meeting about violation of Article 6 of the Constitution which deals with anti-State activities.