PEMRA amendment bill tabled in NA
12 April, 2008
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Sherry Rehman on Friday tabled a parliamentary bill, PEMRA amendment bill, proposing an end to curbs on live broadcasts and punishments for journalists ranging from heavy fines to imprisonment and confiscation of equipment.
Talking to reporters outside the National Assembly Sherry Rehman said that the introduction of the PEMRA amendment Bill in the parliament is a historical day for media independence. With this amendment Bill all black laws against media would come to an end, she said.
"The amendments will remove the entire apparatus of restrictions imposed on the press," Rehman told reporters
She said that the mission of Benazir Bhutto would be bought to its logical end and media would be given full freedom and independence and all negative tactics for harassing media men would be bought to an end.
Sherry said that Musharraf’s regime had imposed "silence" on the media instead of improving its own performance, adding: "We will do no such thing."
"We will put our own house in order and we will allow the press to broadcast not just live telecast but all that they feel fit to broadcast," she said.
The minister added however that the media’s freedom "naturally places a heavy responsibility on the members of the press itself" and suggested forming a press council made up of members of the media.
She added that her suggestions for protection and relief to journalists have been forwarded to the PM.
In response to a question she said that she would be holding meetings with Pakistan Broadcasting Association, cable operators and representatives of journalists organisations to remove any reservations they have.
She said that the PEMRA amendment bill would be sent to parliamentary committee so that the opposition members can also express their viewpoint.