- Media bodies declare PDMA as “unacceptable” in meeting with Fawad Chaudhry, express reservations against it.
- Committee to address issues relating to fake news, rights of media workers, ways to further improve laws and regulatory framework.
- “Prime Minister Imran Khan completely believes in freedom of expression,” says Senator Faisal Javed.
ISLAMABAD: A Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various media bodies on Wednesday agreed to form a committee with the government to resolve the Pakistan Media Development Authority issue amicably.
The JAC, comprising representatives of the PBA, APNS, CPNE, the PFUJ and AEMEND, met goverment representaties which included Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Wednesday.
“A meeting was held between the Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State Farrukh Habib and representatives of PBA, APNS, CPNE, PFUJ and AEMEND,” reads a press release from the JAC.
“Issues relating to media regulation and proposed PMDA were discussed with the Information Minister. The Joint Action Committee expressed its reservations on the proposed PMDA and termed it as unacceptable,” it added.
“It was mutually agreed to form a committee to address the issue amicably. The committee will address the issue of fake news particularly on social media, the rights of the media workers and ways to further improve laws and regulatory framework,” reads the press release.
‘PM Imran Khan believes in free press’
Earlier, a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on the proposed PMDA was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed here at the Parliament House.
Fawad Chaudhry and Farrukh Habib both briefed members of the committee on the PMDA’s concept.
The committee chairman Senator Faisal Javed of PTI highlighted that Prime Minister Imran Khan would never put curbs of any kind on the freedom of speech and press.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan completely believes in freedom of expression. He will never put curbs of any kind on the freedom of speech and press,” he emphasised.
He added that the PTI’s manifesto says, “We are committed to maintaining a vigorous free media, which will evolve its own rules to ensure responsible journalism”.
He welcomed all the stakeholders (PBA, CPNE, PFUJ, PRA, AEMEND) and representatives of journalist bodies and other national media groups, who expressed their reservations and point of view on the proposed PMDA.
‘Bill will not be introduced in case of lack of consensus’
Briefing the committee on the proposed PMDA, Fawad said that for the first time in Pakistan’s history, all stakeholders along and the legislative bodies are extensively being consulted.
He said that bill will not be introduced in case of a lack of consensus on government ideas regarding the PMDA.
He said that it has become a convention by the Opposition to oppose every bill proposed by the government, however, this is an important bill and we should work above party lines to understand the spirit and objective behind the bill.
Fawad lamented the fact that a fake ordinance was issued to misinterpret and create chaos in the country against the media freedom which the government believes is their utmost right.
The representatives of the PBA criticised the government, saying that it did not like the media. Other stakeholders agreed on the need to strengthen existing laws rather than passing new ones.
The committee chairman said that the existing bodies like PCP need to be strengthened: Also there is no forum for electronic media hence PCP may be converted into the media council of Pakistan to deal with issues related to media in general.