Media bill should not hinder right to criticize, UK envoy tells Fawad

Staff Reporter

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday briefed the British High Commissioner Christian Turner about the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and said the Information Ministry wanted to evolve a consensus among all stakeholders on the authority’s draft.

The British High Commissioner said that all stakeholders should be taken into confidence before finalizing the PMDA legislation. “All stakeholders should be assured that this authority will not affect the right to criticize,” he said.

Fawad Chaudhry said through PMDA the government wants to ensure an integrated approach to media management and providing one-stop operation to media practitioners and consumers.

“The government also intends to make the process easy for the issuance of NOC for the promotion of the film industry,” he said.

The Information Minister further explained that seven regulatory bodies are in operation for the media institutions at present and digital media platforms are not under any regulatory framework.

He said that the proposed PMDA framework will address the challenges in accordance with global practices so that Pakistan has access to multimedia information and build a major global hub for content services.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had said on Tuesday last that Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill was controversial legislation and it should be reviewed.

“I do not think that Prime Minister Imran Khan will approve such a controversial bill,” he said while talking to a delegation of media representatives during a meeting.

He stressed that free media is vital for the development of Pakistan and the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders have to be persuaded that local and general elections are not far off.

The representatives of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) were present during the meeting.

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