No media law to be introduced without consultation with media organizations

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Thursday the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf will not amend or introduce any new law about media without consultation with the media representatives.
Speaking during the meeting of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors Council (CPNE) here, he said the government believed in freedom of expression and regulation did not mean censorship. He said that for good legislation, consensusamong all the stakeholders was needed and the government would take opposition parties on-board before introducing new legislation.
The minister said that freedom achieved by media during past few decades was a landmark achievement andwhich was unique in third world countries. He clarified that a new media authority would be established to replace the existing Pakistan Electronic MediaRegulatory Authority (PEMRA) and Press Council of Pakistan and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).The unified authority, he said, would provide one-window facility to the media outlets and the general public for redressal ofthe complaints.
He added the measure would help save national resources as the new regulatory body would look after electronic, print and social media simultaneously.He said that the government has decided to constitute the Information Commissionunder the Right to Information Act (RTI) enacted last year and first informationcommissioner would be appointed within one month time to ensure access to the information. He said access to information for media and general public was vital to ensure transparency and good governance.
Chaudhry Fawad said there would be a need to ultimately move to digital portals and a transition towards modernization is needed for the future and that would also require changes in marketing strategies. Chaudhry Fawad reiterated that hisministry has ended 70 year old censorship of state media. About official advertisements, he said that the government wants to introduce a transparent mechanism for their distribution and the input from media organization would be welcomed in this connection. He said that the previous government spent Rs 21 billion on advertisements and the money spent by Punjab government is also included the figure touches Rs 55 billion mark.
The present government, he said would issue advertisements as per requirement and keeping in mind the survival of the newspaper industry.The minister said that the PTI government has started implementing its manifestoand taken unprecedented initiatives to put the country on the path to progress and prosperity. He said that the government planted 15 million trees on one day a country-wide tree plantation drive has been launched to plant 10 billion saplings in five years.He said that promotion of tourism was major ingredient of PTI manifesto and it would not be possible without relaxing visa regime for visiting foreign journalists and a policy in this regard has been prepared.Earlier President CPNE Arif Nizami highlighted the problems faced by the media and a list of demands was presented to the minister.
At the outset, paying tributes to the martyrs of the nation he said that the nation owed to them as peace in the country was due to supreme sacrifices rendered by them.–APP

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