Farrukh Habib rejects PML-N’s criticism of PMDA bill
Minister makes it clear govt has no intention to stifle media freedom
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said on Tuesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government believed in free and independent media, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Responding to the statement given by Spokesperson for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Marriyum Aurangzeb, he said under the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) there would be job security as well as timely payment of salaries to the journalists of both print and electronic media. “Hitherto, journalists working in the electronic media had no platform for the resolution of their issues,” the minister said, and added although consultations on determining the framework of the Authority were underway, it was beyond comprehension as to why PML-N was criticising it.
Farrukh made it clear that the PMDA was meant for the development of media. “The purpose of the entire exercise is to facilitate journalists by bringing all media organisations under one umbrella,” he explained.
The minister said the idea behind the formation of PMDA had been inspired by the western countries’ handling of the challenges arising out of the growth of electronic media in recent times. “Earlier, laws were enacted overnight,” he said, and claimed that the PTI government had taken the lead in terms of consulting all the stakeholders prior to the enactment of any law.
Farrukh said the way PML-N had treated the media when it was in power is an open secret. “The government is in no mood to gag media. Some people are misguiding people through different explanations of the PMDA,” he said, and added, “The government is holding consultations with APNS, CPNE, PBA, press clubs, media organisations, and all the stakeholders on the constitution of the Authority.”
The minister disclosed that all the stakeholders had assured the government of their complete support for its efforts to regulate media and ensure job security to journalists besides timely payment of their salaries.
He regretted that the opposition was criticising the PDMA bill without first reading it.