A Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various media bodies on Wednesday rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and termed it as unacceptable.
The JAC, comprising representatives of the PBA, APNS, CPNE, the PFUJ and AEMEND, agreed to form a committee to discuss with the government the PMDA issue and resolve it.
The JAC met government representatives which included Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib.
“Issues relating to media regulation and proposed PMDA were discussed with the information minister. The JAC expressed its reservations on the proposed PMDA and termed it as unacceptable,” reads a press release from the JAC.
“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.
SENATE COMMITTEE: Earlier, a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on the proposed PMDA was held with the Chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed here at the Parliament House.
Fawad and Farrukh briefed members of the committee on the PMDA’s concept.
Committee Chairman Senator Faisal Javed said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would never put curbs on the freedom of speech and press.
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.
Briefing the Senate Committee on the proposed PMDA, Fawad said that for the first time in Pakistan’s history, all stakeholders 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 challenge 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.
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.