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Pakistan

Govt bringing PMDA to deal with issue of fake news: Fawad

  • Says COAS Bajwa also declared fake news and disinformation a threat to national security
Updated 07 Sep, 2021

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said the government is introducing the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) to deal with the issues of fake news.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Fawad said: "Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, while addressing the Defence and Martyrs' Day ceremony, also declared fake news and disinformation a threat to national security."

He stated that the COAS Bajwa's analysis is based on facts and reality. The information minister pointed out that the biggest threat to media freedom is from yellow journalism.

PMDA to define media landscape

Last month, Fawad said that the new authority would help digital media define the landscape of Pakistan in the future. He added it would also encourage the local cinema industry and facilitate it, while the censor board would be replaced with ‘Board of Films Censor’.

He said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) is a rich organisation but unfortunately it did not spend a penny on journalists' training, research, and digital media since its formation.

Proposed media law envisages harsh penalties on TV channels

He said that there are currently several laws regulating media in Pakistan and all of them are being abolished to replace them with one authority named the PMDA. The minister said that there is no provision for criminal liability in the proposed law, but it does have the authority to impose a fine of up to Rs250 million.

He highlighted that a media commission had also been created, which will have four people each from the government and media bodies and it will be headed by a chairman. He said that the commission would be able to entertain complaints from media workers.

Proposed media law rejected

He said that the PMDA aims at capacity building of journalists as continuous education of news providers is the need of the hour.

Criticism on establishing PMDA

Meanwhile, opposition parties and several media organisations criticised the government’s proposal for establishing the new media body.

They criticised the law and described the move as a step towards imposing state control over all segments of media through the creation of a single over-centralised body.

They had said the PMDA appeared to be aimed at subjugating freedom of expression and of the press.

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