Strengthening media landscape -
Pakistan Press Foundation

Strengthening media landscape

Pakistan Press Foundation

In a landmark move, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Amendment Bill 2023 was approved by both houses of Parliament on Wednesday which stands as a testament to fostering a vibrant and responsible media landscape, essential for a thriving democracy. The amendments in the bill represent a crucial step forward in aligning our media regulations with the modern world while upholding the fundamental principles of free expression and responsible journalism.

The fact of the matter is that this bill was the result of more than a year of deliberations between the government and various media bodies including AEMEND, CPNE, PFUJ, PBA, APNS, and MOI. It is really surprising that at the last moment, an effort was made to make this bill controversial. Anyhow, the efforts of the journalists’ bodies bore fruit which led to the passage of the bill from Parliament and we are confident that the President will also have no objection to putting his signatures on it. The bill is a step in the right direction. A remarkable feature of the PEMRA Amendment Bill is its commitment to protecting media workers’ rights. Free media can only flourish in an environment where journalists and content creators feel secure in performing their duties. Similarly, the government has voluntarily given up its right to appoint the Chairman of PEMRA and now it will be appointed by Parliament which will serve to make this body more independent and free from the influence of the government. Then the bill includes the definition of misinformation and disinformation. Indeed, discouraging fake news is the need of the hour. The rapid spread of misinformation can have far-reaching consequences, undermining public trust and inciting social unrest. Hence, all necessary steps towards that end need to be encouraged and appreciated. However, there should not be an abuse of the law. It is crucial to acknowledge that this is not the end of the journey but rather a significant milestone. The real impact will be seen in its implementation and enforcement. Additionally, the process of

dialogue must continue to ensure that the Act remains relevant in the face of ever-evolving challenges.

Source: Pakistan Observer

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