Committee formed to probe disbursement of ads during PML-N era

APP News Agency

25th Nov, 2021. 04:12 pm
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ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday set up a committee to probe the revelations of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz regarding the disbursement of advertisements to media.

The inquiry committee would compile its report on the irregularities in the advertisements issued to the media during the PML-N regime and favors given to journalists and various media groups through the media cell, said a press release issued by the ministry.

Through the media cell set up under the patronage of Maryam Nawaz, Rs9.62 billion were spent from the national exchequer. Evidence of controlling Punjab’s advertisements has also come to light from the said media cell, it added.

The inquiry committee would compile its report by investigating cases of misuse of government funds through the media cell under the PML-N government.

Read more: Rana Shamim’s affidavit discussed in National Assembly

Earlier this month, the Senate passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals bill prepared by the Ministry of Human Rights after consulting journalist groups.

Salient features of the bill

The bill is called the “Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021” and covers the whole of Pakistan.

The bill explains the difference between a journalist and a non-journalist, media professional and a media owner.

The bill puts the onus on the government to ensure that media workers’ “right to life and protection against ill-treatment” is guaranteed as per Article 9 of the Constitution.

Apart from this, the bill will also make it liable on the government to “ensure that existing or future counter-terrorism or national security laws are not utilised arbitrarily to hinder the work and safety of journalists and media professionals”. This clause has been added to put an end to “arbitrary arrest, detention, or threats” so that the media can operate with “independence, impartiality and freedom”.