Senate body on information passes bill to amend Pemra law
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Wednesday passed the bill to amend the Pemralaw, empowering Pemra to resolve other issues including non-payment of contract salaries to electronic media workers.
Standing Committee Chairman Senator Faisal Javed, who presided over the meeting here, said there should have been a forum where electronic media workers could approach for solution of their problems. “This is good news for media workers. Today they have been given this right. The bill will soon be passed by the Senate,” he said.
Electronic media workers will get right to appeal for solution of their problems in Pemra. Senator Faisal Javed had introduced the bill as a private member’s bill, which was passed by the Senate for further consideration in the standing committee. The bill was approved by the Senate Standing Committee.
Earlier, under the Pemra Ordinance 2002, the Pemra did not have the legal authority to ask any media channel whether it had given contract letters to its employees or not, whether it was being implemented or not. The Pemra could not hold media owners accountable for non-payment of salaries and deductions for hiring or firing on working hours.
The new proposed law after approval from the Senate and the National Assembly, if this bill becomes an act, it will include awarding contracts to electronic media workers, complying with them, paying salaries on time, not making deductions, etc. If a media channel will violate it, the Pemra will be able to take action against it.
Senator Faisal Javed said that the Senate Standing Committee has been discussing the issue of non-payment of salaries to media workers on time. Under the Pemra law, media employees will now be able to approach Pemra for non-receipt of salaries or contracts. The Pemra has been empowered to take action against media channels that do not award or comply with the contract. Under the new law, no employee can be kept without a contract.
All the members of the committee except PML-N’s Senator Pervez Rasheed supported the bill. Senator Pervez Rashid opposed the bill, saying that the Pemra is already very powerful. Therefore, an impartial forum should be given to resolve the issues of media workers.
President of the Parliamentary Reporters Association BehzadSalimi and Secretary General MB Soomro and the entire executive body met Chairman Standing Committee on Information Faisal Javed and the entire committee. The bill proposes amendments to Section 2, Section 4 and Section 30 of the Pemra Ordinance. The committee recommended giving industry status to media. “Giving industry status to media will enable journalists and people in other fields to get loans for doing their best work,” said Faisal Javed.
Newspaper: The News
Related link: Dawn