Opposition in Senate blocks passage of bill seeking to empower PEMRA

ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the Senate on Monday blocked the passage of a bill to empower the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (Pemra) to take action against TV channels not paying salaries to their employees.

Expressing reservation over the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, PPP’s Mian Raza Rabbani said he did not doubt the intention of Senator Faisal Javed, the mover of the bill, as the proposed legislation seeks protection and job security of the working TV journalists. “However,” he said, “Pemra has a record of suppressing the truth” and expressed the apprehension that it would misuse the law.

He claimed that there was censorship and gagging of the press going on in the country.

The PPP lawmaker said that freedom of the press had been usurped in the country where journalists were being sacked and abducted while the government said that abduction of journalists was a dicey problem.

PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid also opposed the bill.

Senator Faisal Javed said the bill would ensure the signing, renewal and extension of valid contracts between the employers and the TV journalists.

He said the law would ensure protection of jobs and wages of the working journalists and Pemra being the licensing authority of TV channels should be given this oversight role.

The opposition staged a walkout from the house as the Minister for Information Syed Shibli Faraz blamed the opposition for violating Article 19 of the Constitution at its Quetta rally on Sunday.

The minister also accused PPP’s Raza Rabbani of believing in “selective constitutionalism”.

Quorum was pointed out following the walkout and the bill could not be passed.

Source: Dawn


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