Govt to ‘amend’ PEMRA laws to curb fake news

Information minister says move being made to eliminate trend of fake news

Our Correspondent April 23, 2022
Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday said that amendments would be made in the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) laws to curb fake news.

The decision was made during a meeting of the information minister with a delegation of the media’s Joint Action Committee (JAC). The forum reached a consensus that fake news damages national security interests and societal cohesion.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will not compromise on the freedom of expression,” she said. “The prime minister wants to promote this constitutional and civil right as death of journalism is the death of politics and democracy.”

She said, “For four years, the people, politics and journalism have been derailed. During this time, attempts were made to snatch the 'freedom of the nation’.”

The information minister added that “black laws” such as the Peca Ordinance and Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) conspired to enslave 220 million people.

“The media was financially destroyed in four years like the country's economy,” she lamented. “Journalists are aware of the economic catastrophe. They want to repair the damage done to them as soon as possible.”

She said that journalists had lost their jobs and many also lost their lives and that the incumbent government was aware of the plight of their families.

“The government is trying to revive the country's economy as the former government conspired to bankrupt the country," she added.

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Marriyum also condemned allegations made by former prime minister Imran Khan against journalists in the “foreign conspiracy” scandal.

“Whoever speaks the truth, Imran refers to him as a traitor,” she said. “No media space should be given to those who throw mud at the institutions, the judiciary and the media in the name of foreign conspiracy.”

She also added that the media should also play its role in curbing false rhetoric. “A free and impartial media is the refuge of politicians and we will strengthen it,” she assured.

The media delegation welcomed the move of repealing the Peca Ordinance and disbanding the PMDA. It also congratulated Marriyum on assuming charge as the new information minister.

The JAC hoped that the new government would maintain the democratic mood and strengthen the media’s freedom emanating from the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the minister rejected a news item reported by a private TV channel about the National

Security Committee (NSC) meeting, held earlier in the day. In a news statement, she termed the news "concocted", "misleading" and against the national interest.

She said the debate on the so-called regime change foreign conspiracy just got fizzle out after the release of NSC meeting's statement which made it clear that there was no conspiracy against the previous government. Those who were trying to portray the ouster of government as conspiracy were, themselves, hatching a conspiracy against the country, she added.




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