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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting on Thursday observed that the Commission as per Government Bill does not have the powers to solve genuine issues of journalists.

The committee meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed.

At the outset, the Committee discussed the “The Protection of Journalist Bill, 2021” moved by the Senator Saleem Mandviwalla in the House and referred by the House on 15th November 2021.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla briefed the Committee that the motive behind this bill is to provide protection and welfare of media workers. The Commission as per Government Bill does not have the powers to solve genuine issues of journalists, he added. He further stressed that there should be a Commission which has adequate powers to solve the issues and provide platform to journalists in order to address their grievances.

The Chairman Committee questioned the officials from the Ministry of Information as to “Why there is no power available to Commission as per Government Bill”. The Chairman Committee said, “This Committee had previously recommended that rather than introducing any new legislation existing mechanisms should be further strengthened”.

Senator Faisal Javed further added that the government is committed towards welfare of the media workers and is already providing free of cost health facility to journalists and the common people alike. Government is willing to provide Sehat Sehulat Card facility to people of the whole country including province of Sindh.

“Now it’s up to Sindh government to cooperate with federal government in this regard” “Corporate Profitability in Pakistan has risen up 980 billion. Media owners should also increase salaries of media workers accordingly”, added Chairman Committee, Senator Faisal Javed.

Mover of the bill Senator Saleem Mandviwalla underlined that without giving any powers to Commission, the whole thing is just cosmetic and the commission will be toothless.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui was of the opinion that the main purpose of Commission is to ensure that salaries are released to media workers on time.

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla informed the Committee that he will withdraw this bill and present an Amendment Bill, which will be holistic in nature.

The Chairman Committee decided that the proposed bill be further discussed in the next meeting of the committee.

The chairman committee informed the committee members that PTV sports transmission has been upgraded to HD quality.

He further felicitated the ministry officials for their efforts in this regard.

The committee meeting was attended by senators, Saleem Mandviwalla, Irfan Siddiqui, Anwar Lal Din, Syed Ali Zafar, and officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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