Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn-says Information Minister

Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn-says Information Minister
Maryam Aurangzeb Information Minister Pakistan

Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, has been a subject of intense concern among journalists’ associations. However, in response to these concerns, the Controversial PEMRA Bill 2023 is withdrawn.

Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn-says Information Minister Mariam Aurangzeb confirmed this decision during a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, chaired by Senator Fawzia Arshad.

The proposed amendments under the new PEMRA law, particularly the redefined concept of “disinformation,” sparked the need for further deliberation. As the discussions continue, the government aims to replace the old “black” PEMRA law through the PEMRA Amendment Ordinance.

Let’s delve deeper into the details and implications of this development.

Government’s Decision to Withdraw the Controversial Bill:

Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn-says Information Minister Mariam Aurangzeb, Information Minister for PDM has confirmed that the federal government’s withdrawing the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 due to rising concerns expressed by journalists throughout Pakistan.

Senator Fawzia Arshad presided over the meeting of the senate’s standing committee on information wherein the cited bill was made. The bill’s proposed amendments, particularly concerning the redefined concept of “disinformation” were at the heart of journalists’ associations’ concerns. Many of the top journalists in Pakistan spoke against the law.

Top Journalists termed it as “black” PEMRA law.

Controversial PEMRA Bill Amendment 2023 withdrawn-says Information Minister Mariam Aurangzeb informed the meeting that the current government aimed to replace the old PEMRA law through the PEMRA Amendment Ordinance. The government believed that the old law needed to be abolished to address existing challenges and align with the changing media landscape.

On the contrary, since the bill was tabled on August 04, 2023, journalists throughout Pakistan showed grave concerns calling it a black PEMRA law, curbing journalistic free speech in Pakistan.

Need for detailed discussion and involvement of the Next Government.

Finally, the information minister has admitted that there is a severe need for comprehensive discussions on the proposed amendments rather than rushing into decisions within the remaining tenure of the incumbent government.

With more recommendations pouring in, the government suggested that it would be prudent for the next government to examine the matter in depth, leaving the matter for the next government with a fresh mandate.

Journalists’ Associations’ Opposition:

Journalists’ associations expressed strong opposition to the government’s move to withdraw the bill without proper discussion. They argued that the proposed amendments should have been thoroughly examined and debated to ensure a fair and balanced media regulatory framework. The majority of journalistic associations termed it as

The Bill’s Legislative Process:

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was tabled in the Upper House on August 4 and referred to the relevant standing committee of the Senate. The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting had previously approved the bill in July, incorporating the new definition of “disinformation.”

Sigh of relief for Journalists: 

In the end, the decision to withdraw the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, marks a significant development in response to the concerns raised by journalists’ associations.

The government’s intention to replace the old PEMRA law through the PEMRA Amendment Ordinance reflects its commitment to addressing evolving challenges in the media landscape.

While journalists’ associations expressed opposition, the government’s call for detailed discussions involving the next administration demonstrates a desire for a comprehensive approach to media regulation.

As the matter continues to unfold, the focus remains on striking the right balance between media freedom and responsible regulation to ensure vibrant and accountable media in Pakistan.

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