SC appointed commission wanted decentralisation of Info Ministry

Umar Cheema
Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Instead of devolving power of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as recommended by the Media Commission set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2013, the information ministry is bent upon controlling the media through draconian laws, which it is adamant on introducing via centralisation and control.

The Media Commission was appointed in 2013 by an SC bench composed of Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Arif Khilji after a petition was filed by Absar Alam and Hamid Mir, who prayed for developing a mechanism to ensure freedom of press. A two-member Media Commission was formed. Justice (R) Nasir Aslam Zahid and former information minister Javed Jabbar submitted recommendations after interviewing 165 individuals and 80 media-related organisations.

Where they urged regulations for media framed in a manner that they don’t curb freedom, they also recommended decentralisation of the information ministries at federal and provincial levels in addition to granting autonomy to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and making it independent of government control.

The Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the four provincial Departments of Information require substantive restructuring, concluded the commission. Explaining it further, it noted: “Certain departments and functions should be either abolished, or significantly reformed, in order to ensure that the