In a statement issued on Thursday, the PBA said government had sheer conflict of interests over content regulation against the media.
“PBA also categorically denies the statement of acting chairman Pemra that all stakeholders have been consulted. PBA has not been consulted either by Pemra or (the) ministry of information on the proposed ratings set-up.”
The statement further added, “These are tools that any government will be tempted to use against independent media and influence access to information and the citizen’s right to know guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.”
The PBA said the government’s move to regulate content and circulation in print media “has not yielded healthy results and it should learn from that experience”.
“In fact, Supreme Court of Pakistan’s media commission report has recommended that government undertakes substantive restructuring of Ministry of Information and Pemra to make them more autonomous and independent of the influence of the executive so they can play a role in development of the media industry instead of acting as propaganda arm of the federal government.”
“PBA encourages the government of Pakistan to implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court media commission in letter and spirit and to refrain from any actions that can be perceived as obstructing the fulfilment of the rights guaranteed by the article 19 of the Constitution,” it said.
The authority recommended that the federal government should abolish secret funds ‘to do with’ media and create transparency in the way government ads were placed in the media.