Pak set to clip independent media's wings over citing govt's failures

Posted By: Abdul Nisar
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London, July 1 (ANI): Pakistan has introduced a bill known as 'Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Act' which if passed will curb harsh criticism of the government by the independent television channels.

"This Act would usher in harsher regulations for broadcasters and online organisations" BBC quoted Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, as saying.

According to the report, the bill would ban broadcasters in Pakistan from showing images or programmes on suicide bombings, terrorists or the bodies of victims of terror attacks, and such other related material.

It would also prohibit statements from Islamist militants and any acts, which promote, aid or abet terrorist or terrorism. The media industry also has to assure the government that none of its programmes will promote hatred or militancy.

Companies that violate the law will have their licences cancelled and will be fined up to 10 million rupees ($117,647; £78,740) and jailed for three years.

The committee has to vet the bill before parliament votes on it in few days time.

Political analysts, however, fear that the government is using the law to restrict media's freedom of speech and dissent, which has hardened considerably over the past three months.

Pakistan has recently blocked several internet sites for allegedly promoting blasphemous content. It has also started monitoring of search engines and email providers including Google, Yahoo and Hotmail. (ANI)

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