Stakeholders’ views on PEMRA Bill
On June 29, our newspapers reported that the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting has submitted its report on the Pakistan Elec- tronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2010.
According to the newspaper report, the Bill was originally introduced in 2008 in the National Assembly and later referred to the above mentioned standing committee.
Irrespective of the recommendations proposed in the Committee’s report, it has been observed that the said committee has never consulted the stakeholders, including citizens, for their views and concerns on the Bill.
The Bill was secretly and silently discussed behind closed doors and never made public for deliberation.
The citizens of Pakistan have a direct stake in the regulation of the electronic media in the country along with professional bodies such as the Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Association of Independent Radios (AIR), and other similar associations.
The citizens have their own perspective and concerns about the media and regulations thereof.
However, neither has any representative of more than 170 million consumers been consulted nor has any expert been invited to reflect on the Bill during the proceedings of the Committee.
This amounts to a clear negation of democratic process in the passage of the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2010.
The champions of democracy must follow the principles of democracy in its true letter and spirit.
M. AFTAB ALAM