Ministry told to submit media bill draft by Oct 15
SLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting directed the information ministry on Friday to complete its consultation process, and submit a draft of the Media Protection and Welfare Bill by October 15.
The committee met at Parliament House on Friday to discuss the status of implementation of recommendations made by the Special Committee to Investigate Threats to Journalists and Media Personnel in a report presented to the house on Mar 13, 2013.
During the course of the discussion, the committee observed that the recommendations made by the special committee were comprehensive and needed to be implemented for the security and welfare of working journalists.
However, anchorperson Hamid Mir – who was representing working journalists – said the ministry needed to review the bill, and the welfare segment needed to be removed.
“We have discussed it, and there are fears that the government or officials in future might use the amount specified for media’s welfare as a mode of bribery, as it was being done with ‘secret fund or discretionary fund etc’, and we all are opposed to it,” he said.
Mr Mir said media houses should be made responsible for providing insurance, better working conditions and ensuring safety of their employees.
However, the information ministry director general acknowledged that media personnel working on conflict zones were vulnerable and in dire need of financial security and protection.
“The government wants to extend its contributions in this regard too, and Rs50 million have been transferred to the CPNE as seed money to establish an endowment fund for journalists,” he said. He also discussed the measures initiative for the security of media houses, training to deal with eventualities and funding.
The committee also heard the perspectives of representatives from the All Pakistan Newspapers Society and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors.