A committee of the country’s media organisations has unanimously rejected the government’s efforts to establish the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA).
The committee comprises All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND).
In a statement issued on Monday, the committee slammed the information ministry for trying to create a perception that journalists’ bodies are not opposed to the PMDA.
“The recently circulated minutes of the meeting between the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and these organisations are misleading and have been distorted to give the impression that there was no serious objection to the PMDA,” the statement added.
“All representatives were unanimous in rejecting the PMDA draft,” the statement reads.
The ministry, it said, was continuously trying to give the impression that large sections of the media fraternity are supporting the ministry on this “draconian attempt to muzzle the press.”
“This should be stopped immediately.”
The joint committee is planning to call all human rights groups, bar associations, members of parliament and sections of civil society to join hands to stop this outrageous move by the present government to put further curbs on media.
THE PDMA: The Pakistan Media Development Authority has been described in the ordinance as “an independent, efficient, effective and transparent” authority which will regulate all forms of media, including digital media.
In fact, now under the ordinance, print and digital media will also need a license to establish and operate in the country.
The draft describes digital media as online newspapers, web TV channels, OTT content platforms, online news channels, video logs and YouTube channels, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
Once established, the PDMA will consist of a chairperson and 11 members to be appointed by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the federal government. The chairperson of the authority will be appointed from a panel of grade 21-22 of information group officers.