(DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — The Supreme Court of Pakistan has removed State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb from a committee constituted to select the head of Pakistan Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA).
The decision was taken on Monday during a court hearing related to media and PEMRA matters.
The media commission case is based on petitions filed by senior journalists Hamid Mir and Absar Alam in 2013 regarding issues faced by the media and the government’s use of ‘secret funds’ to influence media.
Alam was later appointed the PEMRA chairman but removed last year on the orders of the Lahore High Court. Since then the most important slot has remained vacant due to various reasons.
The top court has now ordered that the information secretary will replace the PML-N ruling party’s politician on the 7-member committee which also includes prominent journalists and the Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) chairman.
The committee will nominate a three-member based panel to select PEMRA chairman and will furnish its recommendations on the matter in three weeks time, the court ordered.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that the Supreme Court wants to end the government’s control over PEMRA and observed that the institution should be an independent one.
“There is no sword hanging over the government regarding this issue but this should be done,” Justice Nisar observed while heading a three-member bench hearing the media commission case.
The bench also questioned if there was any clause in PEMRA laws regulating fake news.
“This is a pressing issue. Malaysia has made publication of fake news an offense, one of the SC judges said. “It was imperative to curb the proliferation of such information”, the judge said.