ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to make amendments to the electronic media laws including the curtailment of powers of the PEMRA chairman, citing sources, ARY News reported on Thursday.
Before the completion of its tenure, the federal government has decided to amend the media laws. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting prepared an amendment bill to modify the electronic media regulations which would be presented to the National Assembly (NA) for its approval.
Sources told ARY News that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority chairman’s powers will be curtailed under the new amendments. After the legal modifications, the PEMRA chairman will lose powers to suspend or cancel licence of any TV channel.
It was also recommended to increase a member in the PEMRA board. Additionally, the legal amendments will enable the journalists and media workers to register complaints against non-payment of salaries and other issues to a Council of Complaints.
Sources added, “Under the recommendations, the owners of the media houses will be bound to pay all kinds of dues and salaries to their employees within 60 days, others, government ads will not be given to those TV channels.”
Moreover, the new law will also interpret the fake news and disinformation issues. The TV channels will be directed to mandatory prevent any kind of disinformation in accordance with the code of conduct. The TV channels would face an initial fine of Rs1 million and a maximum fine of Rs100 million in case of violations.
“The amended law defines disinformation as a news which cannot be verified. A news story aiming for personal, political or financial gains or harassment will also be called disinformation. A news story without getting the stance of other party will also come under the disinformation category.”
Moreover, complaint councils will be established in Islamabad and provinces for media workers for two years which will include a chairman and five members. The complaint council will also include one representative each from the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and a Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
Under the new regulations, the PEMRA chairman and two members will refer the complaints to the concerned council and the verdict will be given with the consultations.