ISLAMABAD: Presiding over his first meeting here on Friday after assuming charge as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Absar Alam expressed support for freedom of expression and speech enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution.

Mr Alam decided to delay bidding for the direct-to-home (DTH) television distribution licences which involves millions of dollars of investment and revenue.

He said he had hardly spent a few hours as the Pemra chairman but was being asked to follow the bidding timeline of Dec 7.

“How will I be able to take any decision on such an important and significant project unless there is a detailed briefing about it, including its criteria, procedures, guidelines and other important legal matters,” Mr Alam said.

Also read: Pemra chairman likely to be appointed on Monday

The matter was discussed with legal experts present, including Law Ministry’s Secretary retired Justice Raza Khan, former high court judge Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Advocate Ali Shah Gilani.

It was decided that a decision on the matter would be taken in the next Pemra meeting.

Meanwhile, a detailed working paper will be prepared for consideration in the next meeting, keeping in view all legal aspects and security issues regarding the DTH project.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2015

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