Media, Govt to Form a Committee on ‘Fake News’ Issue

A committee has been formed between media organizations and the government on the issue of ‘fake news’. According to reports, a joint action committee of media organizations and the government agreed to form a committee on the issue of fake news.

According to the details, representatives of media organizations met Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib. The meeting included representatives of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND).

Meanwhile, a joint action committee comprising representatives of media organizations and the Ministry of Information was formed. It was agreed between the government and representatives of media organizations that the committee would address the issue of fake news, especially on social media.

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The committee will discuss issues such as fake news on social media, rights of media workers and further improvement of laws and regulatory framework. The committee will further improve media workers’ rights and media laws and review the regulatory framework.

During the meeting, media organizations expressed reservations about the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), calling it unacceptable.

The representative of AEMEND said in a meeting of the committee that we demand that the existing law be implemented. “If we want to talk about fake news, we are ready. In principle, we reject the PMDA,” he said.

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Earlier, in a meeting of the National Assembly Sub-Committee on Information chaired by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Aurangzeb, representatives of PBA, APNS, CPNE, PFUJ and AEMEND also discussed the new law and expressed serious concerns regarding it.

They said that PMDA will not be approved in any case, instead of bringing the existing regulatory bodies under one umbrella, the existing laws should be improved. The PBA spokesman said it was difficult to doubt the government’s intentions, adding that there was evidence that the government had said it would block advertisements for those who did not submit to the PMDA Bill.

The National Assembly’s sub-committee on information also sought a legal definition of fake news from the Ministry of Information within a week. On the other hand, the issue of PMDA was also discussed in the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information chaired by Senator Faisal Javed.

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Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said that it was proposed to bring the existing 7 regulatory authorities under one umbrella of PMDA and social media would also be controlled.

Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State Farrukh Habib gave a briefing on the proposed authority. Farrukh Habib said that it was also fake news that the government was bringing an ordinance and it was also fake news that the government was bringing a bill.

Committee member Tahir Bizenjo said that if PMDA is so good then why everyone is calling it a black law. Another member of the committee Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that the media has been particularly targeted in the last three years. Senator Faisal Javed said that the Prime Minister wants complete freedom of media and no compromise will be made on it.

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