PML-N on forefornt to support journalists’ struggle: Marriyum

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday said the entire leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had been on the forefront to fully support the journalists’ struggle for freedom of expression during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf regime.
Talking to the media after the meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting in the Parliament House, the minister said she personally fought for the freedom of media along with journalists when the “media predator” was in power. Marriyum Aurangzeb said as a minister she had always faced criticism with a smile. She faced shouting incidents even at Masjid Nabawi (SAW) and in London too without being intimidated.
She recalled her struggle for freedom of expression, citing her protests along with the PML-N leadership outside Kot Lakhpat Jail and Attock Jail. The minister said consultations on the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023 with all stakeholders continued for over 12 months. The minister said the bill was meant to protect the rights of journalists,and media workers. Besides, Article 19 of the Constitution, definition of misinformation and disinformation were also added in the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023.
All the media organizations, including All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Council of Newspaper Editors and Pakistan Broadcasters Association were involved in the consultation process, she added. The minister said an attempt was made in the past to implement the black law of Pakistan Media Department Authority, but all the then opposition parties stood against it along with the media organizations.
She said the government was cognizant of the medical issues of journalists and media workers so it had launched the health insurance card scheme for them. Marriyum said as per the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023, it was mandatory for media houses to pay all dues of journalists and workers in two months. An objection was raised over payment of the dues in two months was a violation of labour laws, which was contrary to the facts, she added.
Under the amended bill, she said, all the powers of PEMRA chairman had been entrusted to the Authority as a whole, represented by the Council of Complaints. She said the government would not have carried out comprehensive consultations of 12 months if it had any desire to implement a black law. The minister said it might not be possible to incorporate the proposed amendments in the bill as as the National Assembly would be dissolved after two days. She thanked the journalistic community for standing with her in the preparation of the bill.