Consultation being held with stakeholders for consensus on PMDA: Farrukh

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Islamabad

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Farrukh Habib has said that a wide ranging consultation with stakeholders is being held by the government to develop a consensus on proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA) bill.

Briefing a sub-committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on PMDA framework on Wednesday, he said all stakeholders including PBA, APNS, CPNE, major press clubs of the country and PFUJ have been consulted on PMDA framework.

Farrukh Habib said the sub-committee convener Maryam Aurangzeb went to protest camp and termed the PMDA as black law.

It would have been better if the convener of the sub-committee had remained neutral and presented her position on this forum, he added.

At present, there were seven laws and seven organizations including PEMRA, Audit Bureau of Circulation, Press Registrar, Press Council of Pakistan regulating the media and the government has planned to unite them under PMDA umbrella, he said adding this would not only reduce the budget but also facilitate the process.

The state minister said the Media Complaints Commission would take decision on the applications of journalists and media workers connected with electronic, print and digital media in 21 days.

The decisions of the Media Complaints Commission could be challenged in the Media Tribunal, he said adding, the Tribunal would also have 21 days to take decisions whereas its decision could only be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Farrukh Habib said the Media Complaints Commission would be an independent body which would not be under the influence Pakistan Media Development Authority.

He said Media Complaints Commission offices would be set up in Lahore, Multan, Sukkur, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad.

Habib said the government has taken guidance from the Ofcom, Singapore and Malaysia’s models of PMDA, adding, there was a need for any such authority as journalists and media workers demanded to resolve their major issues including delay in salaries and wage board.

The minister said there was no final draft of PMDA and no ordinance was being promulgated in this regard.

Kanwal Shozab said that the sub-committee convener Maryam Aurangzeb rejected PMDA before consultations due to biasness.

There was a question mark on the role of Maryam Aurangzeb, Kanwal Shozab commented. Nafeesa Shah said Kanwal Shozab’s protest was right, if a sub-committee has been formed on this issue, discussion should be taken according to the legal procedure.—INP

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