Freedom Forum submitted the review report on Broadcasting Bill of Province 5 to the Office of the Chief Minister and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law. The draft bill was also distributed to the Assembly members of different political parties in the province on December and to the media and FoE stakeholders. The Assembly Members of Province 5 were distributed the review FF made with the objective of facilitating them to give final shape to the bill. The bill had already been tabled before the Provincial Assembly and was in the process of getting passed as the Act.
Freedom Forum representatives at Province 5, Ram Bikas Chaudhary and Sudeep Gautam, also facilitated at the local level to distribute the review document establishing coordinating with the Assembly Members and Ministry officials as well.
Out of 23 sections in the bill, FF showed concern mainly on 10 sections and demanded repealing of few provisions, while recommended for some change as FF mentioned.
The rationale of review of the Provincial Broadcasting Bill is:
- To use the modern tools and techniques of information and communications on broadcasting sector;
- To ensure reliable, fair and free flow of information via broadcasting means; and,
- To promote and protect the assurance of individual’s freedom of expression and access to information.
FF’s concern/recommendation on draft bill:
- Repeal the provision of ‘government agency’ as a broadcasting institution as well as revoke ambiguous and undefined terminology of the bill such as: obscenity, unnatural fear, misinterpretation of culture, sects, ethnic groups, caste, languages;
- Repeal the proposed provision of taking approval of every program and get the authorization of broadcasting institutions;
- Form an autonomous and independent agency for granting permission for broadcasting institutions;
- Distinguish and erase the proposed activities which directly come under the jurisdiction of federal government such as matters related to foreign affairs;
The provisions that were inconsistent with the constitutional and international standards, national and provincial mass communication policy were reviewed by the FF. Similarly, the review has furnished recommendations providing the grounds for repealing and amendment in the concerned provisions.