Media Laws of Pakistan

Topics: Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto Pages: 17 (5201 words) Published: November 14, 2010
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 of Pakistan

The law states that the Code, which deal with issues as morality, plagiarism, fairness, accuracy, privacy, sensationalism, confidentiality and privilege, will allow journalists to operate "in accordance with the canons of decency, principles of professional conduct and precepts of freedom and responsibility, to serve the public interest by ensuring an unobstructed flow of news and views to the people envisaging that honesty, accuracy, objectivity and fairness shall be the guidelines for the press while serving the public interest."

The Council will be an independent corporate entity, with its own staff, secretariat and budget and will be financed through an annual governmental grant-in-aid as well as other grants and donations and such fees as it may levy from registered newspapers and news agencies. This council is considered to be a euphemistic connotation of censorship.

Functions of the Council
It is clear from some of the following list of functions of the Council that it will have a sweeping domain to control over, from dealing with Code violations by the press to defending the interests of the press:

Preserve press freedoms by maintaining high professional and ethical standards of newspapers and news agencies; Helping newspapers and news agencies to maintain their independence; Revise, update, enforce and implement the Code for newspapers, news agencies, editors, journalists and publishers; Receive complaints about violations of Code by newspapers, news agencies, editors and journalists and appoint inquiry commissions to decide complaints; Receive complaints by newspaper or journalists against government officials or organizations including political parties for hindering functioning of free press; Undertake research relating to newspapers, including foreign newspapers, their circulation and impact etc. Composition of the Council

The Council will comprise 19 members, to be nominated as follows: a chairperson by the president (from...
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