Press Council to have facilitator's role, says Anwar -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Press Council to have facilitator’s role, says Anwar

ISLAMABAD- Secretary Information and Media Development, Syed Anwar Mahmood has said that government soon promulgate laws under which establishment of private ratio and television stations would be allowed and the journalists would be granted the right of access to information.

He said that General Musharraf has already made it clear that promotion of media in the private sector was part of his priorities.

Syed Anwar Mehmood was quoted by VOA as having said that in pursuance of that, it was decided to set up a regulatory authority, a draft law for which had been formulated under the name of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

The law has been approved by the Ministry of Law and there is no delay on our part, except the issue of cable television whether its operation should also come under this regulatory body or under Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The Ministry of Communication and the PTA argue that the task should be theirs while the Ministry of Information says that cable system is just further dissemination of broadcasting and should hence, be under its control. So, there is only this difference of opinion between the two ministries. The summary is now with the Chief Executive and he has to decide. After it, the establishment of private radio and television would be announced.

Syed Anwar Mahmood made it clear that Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television (PTV) would continue to be under government control and PTV programmes would soon be aired in North America through satellite. He said that despite being in state control, PTV was more independent than before, accommodating the opposition’s point of view.

About the under-process laws for media resources, the Pakistan Secretary Information said that the establishment of Press Council is also a new idea in Pakistan. The Press Council law is also being worked out in consensus with All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE). It will have the role of facilitator.

The entire drafting was done by these two organisations almost. The law is now at the Ministry of Law, which would be promulgated soon. As far the working journalists, a law has been drafted, under which there will be a 17-member council, having no government representative.

This body would have representatives of publishers, editors and working journalists, besides members of human rights organisations. So none of them is a government representative.

Source: The Nation
Date:6/7/2001