Media landscape of Pakistan has undergone unprecedented change during past thirteen years. The expansion in media market can largely be attributed, along with various other factors, to the promulgation of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Ordinance 2002. The PEMRA Ordinance, 2002, allowed private sector to own electronic media outlets like satellite TV and FM radio stations in Pakistan. The government also promulgated a number of other media related laws such as the Press Council Ordinance, 2002, the Defamation Ordinance, 2002 and the Press, Newspaper, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance, 2002. Moreover, various other laws relating to media were introduced during the dictatorial regimes and the elected governments.
Critics of media laws maintain that these laws were mainly design to regulate/control/manage media from government perspective. Some even maintain that Citizens’ right to information has never been an objective of these laws but an unattended and residual outcome of these laws. A major development with regard to right to information took place when Citizens’ right to information was acknowledged as a fundamental right and given constitutional protection through 18th amendment.
CPDI conducted a research study to explain the state of media laws and right to information in Pakistan. Is there a case for revisiting media laws in the light of Article 19-A of the constitution? In order to generate informed debate on the topic of ‘Right to Information and Media Laws in Pakistan’ and to share the findings of research report with stakeholders, CPDI is organizing a seminar on 26 August 2015 in Islamabad Hotel, Islamabad.