Media Laws of Pakistan

Page 1 of 17

Media Laws of Pakistan

By | November 2010
Page 1 of 17
Pakistan has quite an interesting yet sometimes depressing history of laws relating to both print and broadcast media. Presently, most of the black laws have been done away with, but there are still many forms of regulation of the mass media that are still in place. Laws at a Glance

The following hold the basic structure of media laws in Pakistan:

The Registration of books and newspaper act,1867
The Press (emergency power)act 1931
The States (protection against disaffection) act, 1922
The Foreign relations act 1932
The Criminal law amendment act 1932
The States protection act, 1934
The Post office act 1898
The Official secret act
The Telegraph act
The Sea customs act
Article 19
This article is defined as follows:

"Every citizen shall have the right of freedom of speech and _expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security, or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to the contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an office." Since the fundamental rights are justifiable, it is open to newspapers to challenge before the high courts and the supreme court any restriction that the government may impose on the grounds that these are not reasonable, or in accordance with the dictates of article 19 of the constitution of 1973. Despite of being added in the constitution this article is not implemented. And is still suspended. Past governments also included this article in their constitution only for theoretical purpose. They were masters of their own will.

In the constitution of 1956 a separate chapter was devoted to freedom of speech and _expression. The press was never given a free hand to bring in to practice. All the media organizations were under government control. So they were bound to follow the state line. Press council...