National Assembly passes amended PEMRA and Press Council bills
The National Assembly on Wednesday approved the major legislation – the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Press Council of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2023 – marking a significant stride towards enhancing the media landscape and upholding transparency and responsibility.
Moved by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, the House passed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 along with amendments with the prime objective to benefit journalists and foster a free and responsible media environment.
The minister also introduced the Press Council of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2023, advocating for the replacement of the term “Government” with the phrase “secretary of the division to which business of the Council stands allocated” in section 8, in sub-section (1), in clause (xiii) of the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance, 2002 (XCVII of 2002).
The two bills underwent a thorough examination by the Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting and its reports were presented in the House. After their third reading, the bills were subsequently passed by the legislators.
In the PEMRA bill, the minister proposed an amendment in clause 2, after paragraph (iii), the following new paragraph (iv) shall be added, namely:- “(iv) after proposed clause (v), the following new clause shall be added namely (vi) ensure fair, transparent and independent rating to the broadcasters for their TV channels.”
She also proposed that after clause 3, the following new clause 3A shall be added namely.-“3A. Amendment of Section 4, Ordinance XIII of 2002.- In the said Ordinance, in section 4, after sub-section (3), the following new sub-section shall be added, namely.- “(4) The Authority by registering rating companies shall ensure that fair, transparent, and independent forums shall issue rating to the licensees”.
Marriyum suggested to substitute clause 8 of the bill as reporting by the standing committee by following: ” 8. Amendment of Section 20, Ordinance XIII of 2002.- In the said Ordinance in Section 20 ” (a) in clause (e), the expression ” and such content will be in addition to preamble and the licensee will also submit an annual compliance report to the is effect or as and when required by the Authority;” shall be added at the end; and (b) after clause (i), for the full stop, at the end, a semi colon shall be substituted and thereafter the following new clauses shall be added, namely:- (j) not air disinformation; (k) ensure that during a regular programme a continuous break for advertising shall not exceed for five minutes and duration between two such successive breaks shall not be less than ten minutes; and (l) ensure that content of all channel available on electronic media, including logo and name, etc. shall not vary, alter, substitute, tempered on digital media or any other similar forum”.
Another amendment moved by the minister was in clause 11. It suggests that in proposed section 26, after sub-section (11), the following new sub-section (12) shall be added, namely: (12) Each Council shall compile and submit the annual report of license regarding the compliance of Code of Conduct to the Authority”.
Source: Daily Times