ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday signed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Amendment Bill 2023, soon after a delegation of stakeholders of the media industry met him.
The Pemra bill had faced ups and downs as a group of anchorpersons had been opposing it. They had termed it a black law that usurped the rights of media workers, and a social media campaign was launched against former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb — the mover of the bill in the National Assembly and Senate.
The delegation of media industry stakeholders called on the president at Aiwan-i-Sadr with a request for his assent to the bill. Dr Alvi assured them of his support for the Pemra amendment bill.
The delegation members included Afzal Butt, Arshad Ansari, Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani, Sarmad Ali, Shahab Zuberi, Shakeel Masud, Ijazul Haq, Kazim Khan, Ayaz Khan, and Azhar Abbas, representing the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Pakistan Broadcasters Association, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors.
The delegation briefed the president on various provisions of the new bill, saying it would benefit the journalist community as well as media employees.
The president appreciated the collective efforts of the media community for introducing amendments to the Pemra law, especially for protecting the rights of media workers.
He discussed various aspects of the amendment bill with the delegation and said it had brought improvements to the existing media law. He asked the delegation members to volunteer to educate the youth about fake news and disinformation.
Dr Alvi highlighted that teenagers were among the most vulnerable populations to the scourge of fake news, and they needed to be educated and sensitised about its implications.
He said media persons, especially senior journalists, should enhance linkages with academia and universities to guide and educate students about fake news as well as the new developments taking place in the field of journalism.
The president said the linking of government advertisements with the payment of dues to electronic media employees would help address their issues.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2023