Govt retracts Pemra amendments bill after journalist associations voice concern

"It is better that next government looks into this matter," says Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb

By
Asif Bashir Chaudhary
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. — APP/File
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. — APP/File

  • Decision comes following Senate’s Standing Committee meeting. 
  • Aurangzeb says govt wanted to abolish old "black" law.
  • Bill seeks to introduce new definition of disinformation.

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to withdraw the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, after journalists' association voiced concerns, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday.

The decision came during a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, chaired by Senator Fouzia Arshad, on the proposed amendments under the new Pemra law that redefined "disinformation".

Aurangzeb apprised the meeting that the incumbent government wanted to abolish the old "black" Pemra law through the Pemra Amendment Ordinance.

She said that more recommendations on the law are pouring in, so "it is better" that the next government looks into this matter.

"It is better to have a detailed discussion rather than deciding in a limited time," she said only as only a few days are remaining in the completion of the incumbent government's term.  

However, the journalists' associations registered strong opposition against the government’s move, saying that the proposed amendments should have been discussed.

The Senate had referred the Pemra law to the relevant standing committee of the Senate after it was tabled in the Upper House on August 4.

The NA Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting had approved the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in July, with a new definition of disinformation.