Unified body to regulate media need of time: minister

Published August 12, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry highlighted that the Pakistan Press Council had a budget of Rs50 million but decided only two cases in two years. — APP/File
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry highlighted that the Pakistan Press Council had a budget of Rs50 million but decided only two cases in two years. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said setting up of a unified body to regulate and monitor all mainstream and social media was the need of the hour.

However, media organisations have rejected the idea of establishing the Pakistan Media Development Authority.

Briefing the joint meeting of the standing committees on information of both houses - presided over by Senator Faisal Javed and MNA Nasir Khan Musazai - the federal minister said the proposed authority was the need of time, adding that due to loopholes in the existing laws and structure, media owners had not been treating media workers properly for a long time. Members belonging to the PML-N did not attend the meeting.

Mr Chaudhry said media in Pakistan was regulated by seven bodies - Pemra, Press Council Pakistan, Pakistan Telecom Authority, Censor Board, Press Registrar’s Office, Audit Bureau of Circulation and Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees. “But digital media was not regulated,” he added.

He highlighted that the Pakistan Press Council had a budget of Rs50 million but decided only two cases in two years. Similarly he detailed the flaws in Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), stressing on regulating content on social media.

“Media owners were against the proposed law but workers were in its favour,” he added.

Mr Chaudhry said: “It is proposed that all the laws of media regulation will be scrapped to establish a new authority, with the consent of all stakeholders to make matters transparent.”

However, soon after the meeting, a joint statement was issued by APNS, CPNE, PBA, PFUJ and the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors which rejected the proposed media development authority. They termed PMDA an unconstitutional attempt to frame draconian law to curb freedom of expression and media in the country.

The statement said it was a step to impose state control on all segments of media.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...
Population crisis
Updated 11 Jul, 2024

Population crisis

Moreover, successful programmes, such as Lady Health Workers, can be utilised to provide information and reproductive health services to women.
Taxing agriculture
11 Jul, 2024

Taxing agriculture

OUR inability to collect sufficient tax revenue is resulting in persistently high fiscal deficits, forcing ...
Negligence at PHOTA
11 Jul, 2024

Negligence at PHOTA

THE impression that the state is being careless towards aspects of organ trade control is damaging. Recent news ...