September 10, 2021
ISLAMABAD—Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, Senator Faisal Javed has said the committee will reject the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill if it feels dissatisfied.
He chaired a standing committee meeting at the Parliament House. The house deliberated on PMDA. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib briefed the committee about the proposed bill. The meeting agreed to call journalists and other stakeholders on Thursday.
At the outset, the chairman asked the ministry officials why they needed to bring forward PMDA, as the rights of journalists can be protected in many other ways. Why is this Authority required, he asked.
Habib informed the committee that to curb the flow of fake news, ensure job security for journalists, regulation without restriction, and creating research and training opportunities, journalists were the primary driving force behind bringing the PMDA.
He said that the standing committee of the National Assembly had already deliberated upon the idea of PDMA and talked with journalists and five major press clubs of the country. Replying to the question of Senator Ali Zafar, Habib said that some journalists did raise objections to some points of the Authority.
He clarified that there would be no physical sentence, but only charges would be imposed as a penalty. Senator Irfan Siddiqui showed discontent with the ministry officials for not having a judge of the ITNE (Implementation Tribunal for Newspapers Employees) for the last 5-6 months. The ministry's secretary replied that an interim judge of ITNE will be appointed in the coming days.
The forum was also informed about the composition of the Authority. The briefing showed that the Authority would have a chairman and 12 members. Six members will be from the private sectors, i.e., arts, media, and other professions, while six members will be from the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Senator Siddiqui raised eyebrows for not including media professionals in the composition of the Authority. The chairman committee observed that members of the parliament should also be made a part of it.
The ministry officials apprised the committee that a 14 points pro forma had been shared with media bodies and that officials of the ministry had met CPNE, APNS, and PBA officials on August 2, 2021.
Photo courtesy: thenews.com.pk
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