Govt will not take solo flight on establishment of media tribunals: Firdous Ashiq Awan
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday said the government would not take a solo flight on establishment of ‘media tribunals’.
While addressing the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA), Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the federal government has not yet arrived at a final draft for legislation concerning the creation of controversial tribunals.
She assured that they will share the draft with All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) before implementation. She also mentioned that the government will not to impose unilateral decisions on the formation of media tribunals.
The special assistant said cabinet members had earlier expressed reservations and told Prime Minister Imran Khan that they were being mistreated by the media and had inquired about what could be done to compel the media to act responsibly.
Firdous Ashiq Awan acknowledged that consultations in this regard had taken place but the government had not made any final drafts for a regulatory mechanism.
On Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet has announced to set up Special Media Tribunals to resolve issues relating to Media industry and stakeholders.
This was stated in a media briefing by Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday after the federal cabinet meeting.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said the tribunals will replace Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) Council of complaints to resolve issues pertaining to media and other stakeholders.
Tribunals would decide a matter within 90 days
The special assistant said the tribunals would decide a matter within 90 days. She said a bill in this regard will be tabled in the National Assembly. She also said that the higher judiciary will patronize these tribunals.
Pending cases with PEMRA to be referred to media tribunals
Firdous Ashiq said all the pending cases with PEMRA will be referred to media tribunals. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan and the government believe in facilitation and empowerment of media.
She said establishment of tribunals is an attempt to introduce best practices, norms and code of conduct of the democratic societies of the world.
Following, the government’s announcement to set up media tribunals, various political leaders and rights bodies had criticised the move.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday said it was deeply concerned over the government’s announcement to set up the tribunals, fearing they would be used to suppress free speech and set curbs on media freedoms.