PEMRA bill a blow to freedom of expression: IFJ
LAHORE, May 20, 2005: The National Assembly’s (NA)approval of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Amendment Bill 2004 is a blow to the freedom of expression in Pakistan, said Christopher Warren, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) president, on May 19.
“By passing the PEMRA amendment bill, the National Assembly has set the stage for the government to keep a tight grip on the broadcast media,” the IFJ president said, adding that relaxation in restrictions on cross-media licensing was a deception. Now PEMRA, under Clause 27 of the amended bill, can ban channels in the name of national interest, security, ideology and vulgarity, the IFJ chief said.
Violation of the PEMRA bill is a compoundable offence with up to three years sentence and Rs 10 million fine to a violator. There are six to eight clauses which need to be debated among media organisations before approval from the upper house, Warren said.
“It is regrettable that the National Assembly Standing Committee passed the amendments bill without debate,” he added.
Source: Daily Times