Saturday September 18, 2021

PMDA bill to be rejected if panel felt dissatisfied: Senator Faisal

PMDA bill to be rejected if panel felt dissatisfied: Senator Faisal

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Senator Faisal Javed Tuesday said the committee will reject the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill if it felt dissatisfied.

He was chairing a meeting of the standing committee held here at the Parliament House. The meeting held deliberations on PMDA. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib briefed the committee on Pakistan Media Development Authority. The meeting agreed to call the journalists and other stakeholders in the next meeting of the standing committee, expected to meet on Thursday.

At the outset of the meeting, the chairman asked the ministry officials as to why they need to bring forward PMDA, as the rights of the journalist can be protected in many other ways, why is this ‘Authority’ needed.

Farrukh Habib informed the committee that to curb the flow of fake news, ensure job security of journalists, regulation without restriction and create research and training opportunities for the journalist were the basic driving force behind bringing the PMDA.

He said that the standing committee concerned 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, Farrukh Habib said that some journalists did raise objections to some points of the ‘Authority’.

He clarified that there will be no physical sentence but only charges will 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 to which the secretary of the ministry replied that an interim judge of ITNE will be appointed in the coming days.

The meeting was also informed about the drafting and approval of the new advertising policy. The chairman committee sought a briefing from the ministry on the new policy in the next meeting and said that the committee will also give its feedback on the new policy; which is not shared with the committee members before its approval.

The forum was also informed about the composition of the ‘authority’. The briefing showed that the authority will have its chairman and 12 members. Six members will be from private sectors i.e. arts, media and other professions while six members will be each from the four provinces of Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui raised eyebrows for not including media professionals in the composition of the ‘authority’. The chairman committee observed that members of the parliaments should also be made part of the ‘authority’.

The ministry officials apprised the committee that a 14 points pro forma had already been shared with media bodies and that officials of the ministry had also met with CPNE, APNS and PBA on 2 August 2021 on the matter.