ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry Wednesday announced merger of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and Press Council of Pakistan to form a single authority to deal with electronic, print and social media.

“The government has decided to do away with PEMRA and Press Council and form a single, unified authority to oversee print as well as electronic and cyber media,” Fawad informed reporters here at the Parliament House.

The new regulator, named Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority, will comprise top officials and representatives from the media industry, he informed, adding they wanted to have same yardstick to deal with all mediums. “It will be a state-of-the-art body consisting of professionals and also representatives from media with minimal government’s control,” he explained.

Giving rationale of the move, the information minister said this step on one hand would effectively streamline the working of electronic, print and social media while on the other hand would save national resources being spent on having separate bodies for these mediums.

Fawad hinted at bringing structural changes in Ministry of Information, regulatory authorities and Pakistan Television Corporation and people would see change for themselves.

He further said that they have lifted all sort of restrictions from state-run Pakistan Television Corporation and now the television was giving more coverage to opposition parties than the ruling party, the point widely noted and acknowledged.

Faward said that they have also placed ban on all advertisements aimed at giving projection to ministers and government functionaries and only need-based government advertisements would be allowed hence it would save government billions of rupees.

The minister said that during the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz when they had asked for details of advertisements they had hoodwinked the opposition by concealing details whereas now Prime Minister Imran Khan had imposed complete ban on the advertisements aimed at personal projection and glorification and only need-based advertisements would be issued in most transparent fashion.

The previous federal government had spent Rs17 billion on advertisements and if the amount spent by the Punjab government is also included in it the figure reaches Rs40 billion.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has given clear instructions that no amount will be spent for self-projection or the publicity of the government.

To a question, he criticised Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s bid for presidential election, saying that on one hand he was dubbing the Parliament bogus and fake while on the other hand he wanted to make his way to presidency through the same Parliament.

To a question about Aamir Liaquat, Fawad prayed that may Allah guide everyone towards the right path.

PEMRA ISSUES NOTICE TO TV CHANNEL

APP adds: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to ARY News for telecasting a programme titled “Power Play” hosted by Arshad Sharif for discussing subjudice case of “Money Laundering” against former president of Pakistan which is pending for adjudication before Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Authority has directed the ARY News to show cause within seven days, in case of failure to reply within stipulated time, the Authority shall have the right to initiate ex-parte proceedings against the Channel, including suspension of programme for 30 days.

Furthermore, in light of the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in suo-moto proceedings on Wednesday PEMRA has issued an advice to all News and Current Affair STV Channel licensees and has prohibited discussion on any subjudice matter in any talk show, aired by any TV channel.

Nonetheless, discussion on subjudice matters not only amounts to contempt of court but is also in sheer violation of Pemra laws.