PAPRA bill won’t be promulgated through ordinance’
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani on Thursday assured the Senate Committee on Human Rights that the Press and Publication Regulatory Authority bill (PAPRA) would not be promulgated through an ordinance.”No law would be enacted without taking all the stakeholders into confidence and the draft of the PAPRA bill would be presented to the cabinet after obtaining comments from all the relevant quarters,” he assured a meeting of the Senate committee, which was held here with Senator S M Zafar in the chair.The meeting was summoned by S M Zafar while taking suo moto notice of reports of the government’s plan to introduce the PAPRA bill, and after criticism from the stakeholders.Durrani said the government has benefited from criticism by the media, which has helped bring about more transparency and efficiency in its functioning. He said the government and media were “symbols of authority” and the latter was enjoying unprecedented freedom in the history of the country.He said the government had great respect for the media and now people were watching television channels for diverse viewpoints on issues instead of attending public meetings.”The government has not prepared any formal draft of the PAPRA bill, so there was no reason for criticism. If and when a draft is ready it will be provided to all the stakeholders to get their opinion,” he said.He said some quarters are raising questions over the non-formal draft of the bill which had, at the moment, no legal status and its criticism is therefore uncalled for.The minister said it was regrettable that when articles over the non-formal draft of the bill were published in some sections of the press, no one bothered to get views of the relevant government authorities.He said the draft of the PAPRA bill would be presented to the cabinet after seeking comments from all the relevant quarters.Senator Zafar said no law should be made without being thoroughly debated, and hoped that the government would take into confidence all the relevant quarters before preparing a draft of the PAPRA bill.
Leader of the opposition in the Senate Raza Rabbani said the government should assure that the bill would not be promulgated through an ordinance to remove reservations among various quarters.PML Secretary-General Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the government has always held thorough consultations before preparing the draft of any bill. The same was done in the case of the Women Protection Bill.He said no one should jump to conclusions until a formal draft of the PAPRA bill was presented for debate.
Hameed Haroon of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society said there were some reservations over the unofficial draft of the bill, which should be removed at the earliest.
Fasih Iqbal of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors said there was no need for any further law to streamline media-related procedures.Representatives of various organisations, including Hafiz S A Rehman, Mutiullah Jan, Qazi Asad Abid and Khalid Ranjha also spoke.
Source: The News