Thursday, August 11th, 2022
Home »General News » Pakistan » ‘Media Regulatory Authority’: APNS strongly criticises government decision
All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) has flayed the decision of the Federal Cabinet to set up a Media Regulatory Authority replacing all existing statutory media bodies. Hameed Haroon, President and Sarmad Ali, Secretary General of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society have expressed concerns over the formation of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority and termed it as most regressive measure against the media. They stated that the existing media laws namely; Press Council Ordinance, Press Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance and PEMRA are being annulled which were enacted after protected dialogue and consultation by the government with the media bodies. The proposed PMRA authority is being formed without any consultation with the stakeholders despite firm assurances by Iftekhar Durrani, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on media and Information Minister, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.

The APNS Office Bearers have stated that it would be impractical to bring print and electronic i.e. TV, radio, social and digital media under one regulatory authority. The broadcast and digital media can be brought under one umbrella but print media being different in nature, format and issues arising thereof, cannot be lumped with them. Even, in developing countries, print and electronic media are treated separately.

The APNS pointed out that the Ministry of Information has not provided the draft of the proposed PMRA but only disclosed some salient features of the new body which include a licensing system to control the media and composition of the authority to administer the media whereas the draconian teeth relating to terms of licensing and punishment of any breach have been concealed. It seems that the officials of the Ministry of Information have dug out the notorious PPO promulgated military dictator, General Ayub Khan from the dustbin of the history and presented it with the new title which is not acceptable to the media in the country. The APNS is of the considered opinion that the proposed licensing system and measure intended to tame, control and subjugate the media, are in gross conflict with Article 19 of the Constitution and the basic human rights. The APNS Office Bearers also pointed out that after the 18th Amendment, any legislation in relation to newspapers, books and printing presses has become an exclusive provincial subject and any attempt by the Federal Government to form such authority would be in contravention to the Constitution of Pakistan. However, the Federal government is trying to bring in e-papers of newspapers in the ambit of this authority and impose its draconian laws on print media indirectly by bypassing the Constitution.

The APNS has urged upon the Federal Government to ensure a meaningful dialogue and consultation with all the stakeholders in the media before setting up the proposed authority. The APNS has also appealed to all democratic forces to raise their voice against the undemocratic and anti-people move of the government to safeguard the democratic norms in the country.

Meanwhile, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has also severely criticised the government move , according to a press release.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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