Media Development Authority bill envisioned to strengthen role of media: Fawad Chaudhry

He said that the owner’s media houses had the main objection on Pakistan Media Development Authority


ISLAMABAD, The office bearers of various media organizations on Tuesday rejected the advertisement being run on various television channels against PMDA declaring it a unilateral campaign claiming to malign the proposed law.

Office bearers of media organizations including Fourth Pillar International, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Professionals) and Young Journalists Association said this during a meeting with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib here.

They categorically stated that all the media organizations had not rejected the PMDA draft. They said that in the past governments used to be blackmailed by media house owners, but the PTI was the first government which took this step for protection of media workers’ rights.

They said that they would not allow some organizations to protect the interests of the media owners and had decided to approach Competition Commission of Pakistan against the misleading advertisement and campaign being shown by various television channels.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the greatest challenge being faced by the modern media was distinction between fake and genuine narratives.

The minister said that all the rules and regulations for media were made before the revolution of digital media as now cellular mobile phone set was newspaper, television and social media for the users.

He said that the owner’s media houses had the main objection on Pakistan Media Development Authority that there should be two separate regulatory authorities for print and electronic media.

He said that under the proposed PMDA, media complaints commission and media tribunals would be separate institutions, which should have no government control. An independent commission would appoint their members, he said.

The minister said that the government has paid Rs700 million outstanding dues to media houses but some of them have not paid salaries to their staff.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that in 2018 he had written a letter to Finance Division that digital advertising should be brought under the tax net which was Rs 4 billion then and now it has crossed Rs 25 billion mark.

The minister said that Netflix and Amazon were earning $ 250 million from Pakistan every year.

He said the government was trying for inclusion of Pakistani content on these platforms. He said that for the first time the present government has allocated funds for digital media.

He said that there would be no compromise on the PMDA clauses on fake news and rights of the media community. The minister said the government would welcome proposals regarding other classes of the draft of PMDA.

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