ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Amendment Bill 2023 was passed by the National Assembly with unanimous vote after detailed deliberations with all stakeholders. She said, it was unjustified that the people who prepared the said bill were irrelevant although all the media organizations and stakeholders were consulted on the bill. “PEMRA Bill 2023 remained in the public domain for 20 days and under discussion in Parliament. If anybody has any objection on the bill, he may highlight that loophole and suggest the amendment,” the minister said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting. PEMRA Bill 2023 was reviewed in the meeting presided over by the convener of the committee Fauzia Arshad. It was decided in the meeting that the committee members would submit their amendments by August 7.
During the briefing, she said, under the PEMRA law 2002, the chairman PEMRA had authority to suspend or cancel the license of any TV channel but the amended law empowered the Council of Complaints by curtailing the power of chairman PEMRA.
“We all have suffered a lot due to the draconian PEMRA law 2002 which was introduced by the then President Pervaiz Musharaf,” she added. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the PEMRA Bill 2023 protects the rights of media workers and journalists as all the media house owners would be bound to clear their all dues including salaries within two months under the new bill.
Responding to Senator Irfan Saddique, she said, media houses were bound to submit their monthly statements regarding the salaries of the employees to the Council of Complaints and added that media houses would be penalized up to Rs ten million for none compliance to the provisions in the bill. There was no such platform in the country where media workers and journalist could register their complaints against the media houses, therefore, this bill is providing a platform where they can register their complaints at the Council of Complaints, she added. She refuted the impression of any connection between salaries of media worker and the government and said that no advertisements would be given to any TV channel for none compliance in this regard. She said the channels could seek stay order from the court of the same city where the complainant would register his complaint against the channel in the council.