ISLAMABAD: An amendment to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Ordi­nance 2002 requiring the government to issue only written directives on policy matters has been submitted to the Senate.

The amendment to Section 5 of the Pemra Ordinance states that the federal government may from time to time issue directives to the regulator in writing on a policy matter.

Talking to Dawn, a senior Pemra official said on Friday that the law provided wide-ranging powers to the government, but there was severe criticism of the regulator when the former’s directives were implemented.

The Section 5 of the existing law states: “The Federal Government may, as and when it considers necessary, issue directives to the Authority on matters of policy, and such directives shall be binding on the Authority, and if a question arises whether any matter is a matter of policy or not, the decision of the Federal Gover­nment shall be final.”

The Pemra official said: “There is rational upgradation of the law as currently it granted overwhelming powers to the government, allowing it to issue verbal directives which when challenged in a court of law cannot be proven by the regulatory body.”

The amendment also states that the directive issued by the government has to be related to Article 19 of the Constitution.

The Article 19 reads: “…Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or incitement to an offence.”

The other amendment proposed to Section 6 of the ordinance relates to constitution of Pemra.

Under the current law, there are 12 members of Pemra, including chairman.

The amendment proposes that the authority should have nine members, including chairman. It also suggested inclusion of a nominee of the Pakistan Broad­casters Association in Pemra.

Besides the chairman, eight other members of Pemra proposed by the amendment are: an official appointed by the federal government, an officer of grade-22, the Pakistan Telecomm­unication Authority chairman, one nominee of the PBA and one member each from the four provinces.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Police Lines bombing
Updated 31 Jan, 2023

Police Lines bombing

Where the menace of terrorism is concerned, the government and opposition need to close ranks and put up a united front.
Oil price hike
31 Jan, 2023

Oil price hike

THE record single-day increase in petrol prices, preceded by massive currency depreciation, signifies the ...
Babar Azam’s award
31 Jan, 2023

Babar Azam’s award

BABAR Azam might not have lifted many trophies as Pakistan’s all-format captain in the last year but the star...
Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...