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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Journalist bodies reject Pemra bill at KPC meet

By Our Correspondent
July 25, 2023

KARACHI: All the representative bodies of the journalists during a consultative meeting chaired by Karachi Press Club president on Monday rejected the Pemra Amendment Bill, 2023 and demanded complete reconstitution of the Pemra as recommended by the two-member media commission appointed by the Supreme Court, including Justice (r) Nasir Aslam Zahid and former federal information minister Javed Jabbar.

The meeting was of the view that the nomination of the Pemra chairman and members of the council of complaint should be made by the six-member parliamentary committee as suggested by the media commission.

The meeting expressed that the Pemra as regulatory body can only act as a prosecutor but not as a judge to announce sentences, adding that for this, a separate special tribunal needs to be constituted to consider the recommendation of the council of complaints in handing down verdicts, for which the right of appeal exists.

The meeting also expressed concerns over misuse of the Article 19 of the Constitution by successive governments and urged the parliament to revisit it due to proactive role of the judiciary and security establishment in political matters.

The meeting also demanded that the Media Employees’ Conditions and Services Act be legislated on the pattern of Newspapers Employees’ Conditions Services Act 1973.

It also demanded the restoration of the editor’s institution as only a professional editor/director news/head of the news is competent enough to decide the authenticity of news, disinformation or misinformation.

The meeting expressed deep concerns over the rise of unauthentic news, remarks, audio, video leaks and was of the view that the best way to counter such propaganda and defamatory content is to have a strong defamation law, for which defamatory law 2002 needs to be amended to make it more affective.

All participants of the meeting agreed that a consultation with all media stakeholders should continue to ensure freedom of the press, betterment of the media workers and job and life security of the journalists. They also stressed for making the regulatory institution like Pemra more meaningful and effective.

The meeting expressed its deep concerns over the rising disappearances of journalists, including anchor Imran Riaz Khan and undeclared ban and censorship on the media. It also expressed concern over continued injustice in the case of senior journalist Arshad Sharif and demanded early arrest of the killers.