ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has apprised the Senate Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage the first draft of the bill for the protection of journalists would be presented before the cabinet legislative committee for its approval.

She said the bill was prepared in consultation with all the stakeholders, including All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), Council of Newspapers Editors (CPNE) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and was inclusive of the recommendations of the committee members and the UN guidelines and

The minister said that the proposed bill envisaged the establishment of a welfare fund for the journalists to which both the government and the media owners would contribute, adding that this fund would be constituted immediately after the formal approval of the bill.

The minister told the committee that some people were not happy with the proposed draft bill as they also wanted inclusion of job security in it, adding that the government could not be a party to the matters between the employer and employees as they were already covered by the labour laws.

In regards to responsibilities of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for regulating the electronic media, the minister told the committee that under the PEMRA laws it was obligatory for private TV channels to have an editorial committee within the organisation, an imperative to ensure self-regulation.

The minister said that the government had taken serious notice of a programme aired by PTV in which a poet defamed the Pushtun community, adding that a lifetime ban had been imposed on the participation of the concerned poet at PTV, along with the suspension of the producer, scriptwriter and the members of the editorial committee. She said that a permanent editorial committee was being constituted in PTV to avoid such incidents in the future.

She said that the post of the post of MD at the PTV was vacant at the moment, but next week additional charge would be given to someone and report on the incident would be presented to the committee.

The minister explained to the committee that it was compulsory to get a certificate for advertisements from relevant departments but unfortunately the law was not being implemented properly. –Courtesy Pakistan Today

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