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Event Title: Senator Fawzia Arshad , Convener of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad .

Event Date: 2023-08-07

Senator Fawzia Arshad, Convenor of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, presided over a meeting to discuss the "Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Bill, 2023." The bill was introduced by Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms. Maryam Aurangzeb, and attracted extensive deliberations from the attendees.

Distinguished senior journalists from key electronic media organizations in Pakistan and representatives from various media associations gathered to discuss the "Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023." During the meeting, the Sponsor of the Bill acknowledged the importance of the legislation and emphasized her positive intentions behind proposing it.

After careful consideration and receiving 28 amendments from different stakeholders, the Sponsor made the decision to withdraw the bill to further refine the legislation by incorporating appropriate amendments and allow the new government to take it up in the future. This move was seen as an opportunity for more time, deliberation, and reconciliation on the bill, given the valuable feedback provided by various stakeholders.

Representatives from different media organizations actively participated in the meeting, submitting their own amendments and sharing their perspectives on the bill. A key point of focus during the discussions was the issue of dues and salaries of media workers. Members of the Committee, journalists, and representatives from media associations underscored the importance of approving these amendments while continuing to deliberate on the rest of the proposed changes rather than completely withdrawing the bill.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui emphasized keeping the bill on the agenda and going on with the deliberation process, particularly with regard to amendments related to the physical and financial security of journalists. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed advocated for the passage of non-controversial amendments.

To further refine the bill and address matters related to Parliamentary oversight, the Tribunal, Council of Complaints, and submitted amendments, the Sponsor intimated the call for restarting consultations. In accordance with the Rules of Procedure and conduct of business in the Senate, 2012, the bill was officially withdrawn, as announced by the Chair.

The committee meeting saw the participation of distinguished Senators, including Irfan Siddiqui, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Kamran Michael, Waqar Mehdi, Anwar Lal Dean, Kamran Murtaza, and Mushtaq Ahmed. Additionally, senior officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, senior journalists, and the Chairman of PEMRA were also present.

The meeting concluded, intending to refine the bill to ensure its effectiveness in regulating the electronic media landscape in Pakistan.