Tuesday Sep 17, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said the government has decided to establish special media tribunals to settle cases of media organisations, workers, owners, and citizens.
Sharing the decisions of the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Firdous told a press conference that the government would get a law passed from the parliament in this regard.
After the establishment of the tribunals, she said, all media-related cases would be transferred to them, which would be bound to decide on the matter within 90 days of receiving complaints.
The decision to the effect had been taken as part of media rules and regulations the government intended to introduce in Pakistan like the best practices being followed in other democratic countries, she added.
Dr Firdous said the media's role was important for any state and, as per the Supreme Court's decision, it was the fourth pillar of the state.
Setting up the tribunals would make the media more responsible, she added.
She said that, at present, media organisations, owners, workers, and the civil society moved their media-related complaints to the judiciary to get relief.
The decision would help prevail truth and supremacy of law, besides encouraging the process of self-accountability in the media.
She said the tribunals would hear specific media complaints and any organisation or person having any complaint against the media could approach them.
Dr Firdous said the cabinet expressed its concern over the fact that some elements by taking advantage of freedom of expression were levelling baseless allegations against personal lives of government personalities, including the prime minister and federal ministers.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said, was of the opinion that positive criticism was vital for the development of a society and better governance, but some elements were using freedom of expression for personal objectives.
The prime minister remarked that some elements were intentionally spreading baseless rumours to fulfill their nefarious designs and a section of media was being used as a tool, she added.
She quoted the prime minister as saying that it was being done to create mistrust between the people and the government.
Responding to questions from reporters, she said that all the stakeholders would be taken on board regarding the media tribunals, which would work under the supervision of the superior judiciary.
The tribunals would be free from government control or influence as government functionaries would also be accountable to them.