Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Pakistan 1 June 2005

Electronic media liberalised but put under closer surveillance

Hasty amendments to a 2002 law setting up the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) will pose fresh threats to journalists working in this fast-expanding sector, Reporters Without Borders warned today

The organisation said it regretted the lack of debate in the national assembly when the amendments were passed on 16 May and called on the senate to modify them before they are promulgated by President Pervez Musharraf.

Even if the amended law brings some improvements for Pakistan’s electronic media, certain of its articles place serious curbs on press freedom by allowing the PEMRA to seize equipment, withdraw licences and conduct investigations.

A new article in section XVIII grants the PEMRA police powers for offences covered by the law. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists secretary-general Mazhar Abbas told Reporters Without Borders this would allow the authorities to arrest electronic media journalists without a warrant.

Violations are punishable by prison sentences of up to three years and fines of some ten million rupees (13,700 euros).

Information minister Sheikh Rashid said he was unaware of any measures allowing arrests without a warrant, and instead stressed the fact that the new law will allow individuals to own both print and broadcast media. Until now, companies owning newspapers that wanted to set up TV stations had to locate their headquarters abroad.

Reporters Without Borders said it welcomed this liberalisation, which should allow new privately-owned media to be set up in Pakistan.

But the press freedom organisation said it also contested the legitimacy of increasing government representation on the PEMRA. Under the amended law, the number of government-appointed members increases from four out of nine to seven out of 12, thereby giving the government an absolute majority.




In this country
26 May - Pakistan
Video on plight of Swat valley journalists
26 May - Pakistan
Joint open letter from the IFJ and RSF to the President regarding threats made against journalists
15 May - Pakistan
Emergency funds for journalists who have had to flee Swat valley fighting
12 May - Pakistan
Journalists flee Swat valley en masse
6 May - Pakistan
Media in danger in Swat valley

in the annual report
Pakistan - Annual report 2007
Pakistan - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised