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The draft of the Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance, 2021

Full text of the draft law that was rejected

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 15, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 week ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 15, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 week ago

Art: SAMAA Digital

This is the rejected draft of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021 that the government is working on to try to regulate digital media.

Journalists have strongly opposed such laws. Protests were held in Islamabad this week.

Pakistan Media Development Authority ORDINANCE, 2021

Islamabad, The  7TH  May 2021

F. No. 2(1)/2021-Pub. – The following Ordinance promulgated by the President is hereby published for general information: –

ORDINANCE No……..OF 2021

AN ORDINANCE to regulate films, electronic, print and digital media in Pakistan

WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for the development of films, electronic, print and digital media in order to –

  1. To establish Pakistan as a major global center for multimedia information and content services;
  1. To create an independent, efficient, effective and transparent Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) to regulate all forms of media and bring them under one converged regulator and statutory authority;
  1. To ensure Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Constitution and optimize the media’s ability to act as an important constituent of the State;
  1. To create a robust environment for development of all forms of media, having competition, plurality of voices, diversity of opinions, analyses and programs for informing, educating, entertaining and empowering citizens through free access to information and media literacy;
  • To promote and nurture the national information resources for a befitting cultural representation of the country globally; and
  • To ensure ease of doing business for all the stakeholders and enable affordable and quality services to the end-users

AND WHEREAS, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action;

NOW, THEREFORE, in exercise of all powers conferred by clause 1 of article 89 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, The President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:

PRELIMINARY

1.         Short title, extent and commencement. — (1) This Ordinance shall be called the Pakistan Media Authority Ordinance, 2021.

            (2) It extends to the whole of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

            (3) It shall come into force at once.

            (4) The Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2021 hereinafter referred to as the said ordinance, shall also apply to the Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Territory as it applies to Pakistan subject to the following modifications, namely: (1) for the words ‘Provincial Government’ wherever occurring the word “Government” shall be substituted ; (2) for the expressions ‘Province’ and ‘Province of Pakistan’ wherever occurring the expression ‘Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir Territory’ shall be substituted ;

2.         Definitions. –  In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, –

(a)        “Advertisement” means a set of visual, audio and text messages for the projection of a product, service, or idea with the object of propagating sale, purchase or hire of the product, service or idea for creating other related effects;

(b)        “Authority” means the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) established under section 3;

(c)        “Authorized officer” means the Chairman, full time members, director general, director, In-charge of the regional or sub-regional officer or any officer not below the rank of assistant director;

(d)       “Broadcast media” means such media which originate and propagate broadcast and pre-recorded signals by terrestrial means or through satellite for radio or television and includes teleporting, provision of access to broadcast signals by channel providers, web TV, over the top (OTT) content platforms and such other forms of media as the Authority may prescribe.

(e)        “Broadcast station” means physical, technical and software infrastructure for the operation of radio, television, web TV, online news platforms, over the top content platforms also includes satellite unlinking from ground, repeaters, web TV platform and all such other accessories;

(f)        “Broadcaster” means a person engaged in broadcast media and digital        media;

(g)       “Cable TV” means reception of broadcast and pre-recorded signals from different channels and their distribution to subscribers through a set of closed transmission paths;

(h)        “Chairman” means the Chairman of the Authority;

            (i)         “Chairperson” means the head of the Tribunal;

(j)         “Channel” means Satellite, terrestrial, web and Over the Top (OTT) Channels for the broadcasting and webcasting;

(k)        “Channel provider” means a person who represents local or foreign channels and web TV or Over the Top (OTT) channels and provides access of their channel to viewers and a distribution service platform;”;

(l)         “Company” means a company as defined in the Companies Act 2017

(m)       “Copyright” means copyright as defined in the Copyright Ordinance 1962 (XXXIV of 1962) and the other rights which comes under the intellectual property organization of Pakistan Ordinance 2012.

(n)        “Content” includes programmes and advertisements including audio,                                  digital and video;

(o)        “Distribution Service” means a service which receives broadcast and pre-recorded signals from different channels and distributes them to subscribers through cable, wireless or satellite options and includes Cable TV, LMDS, MMDS, DTH, IPTV, Mobile TV and such other similar technologies;

(p)        “DTH” means Direct to Home distribution of audio-visual signals received via satellite to small dish antennas across the foot-print of the satellite to subscribers;

(q)       “Editor” means the person who controls the selection of the matter that is published in a newspaper or is circulated or transmitted by a news agency and whose name is specified or printed on the print-line of the publication as editor

(r)        “Foreign company” means a company or body corporate organized, and registered under the laws of a foreign government;

(s)       “Frequency” means the frequency of the electromagnetic waves measured in Hertz and used for transmission;

(sa)      “FAB” means the Frequency Allocation Board established under section 42 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Act, 1996 (XVII of 1996);

            (sb)       “Government” means the Federal Government;

(sc)      “Illegal operation” means broadcast, webcast or transmission or operation or exhibition ,  publishing or printing or distribution of  films, newspapers, satellite TV channel, terrestrial TV channels, Over the Top TV channels or a newspaper, or provision of access to, programmes or advertisements or content on any medium including web without having a valid license or registration certificate or declaration or NOC from the Authority;

(t)        “Journalist” means a person who writes, edits, photographs or makes cartoons or illustrations for media including an editor, a leader writer, news editor, feature writer, reporter, correspondent, copy tester, cartoonist, news photographer, cameraperson, calligraphist and proof reader, anchor person, news director, news editor;

(ta)       “Media” means broadcast, print, digital communication channel through which information, entertainment, education or promotional messages are disseminated and includes the electronic, print and digital media;

(tb)      “member” means a member of the Authority, Media Complaints Council and Media Tribunal includes the chairman;

(u)        “Print Media” means any daily or periodical work containing public news or comments on public news and includes such other class of periodical works as the authority may prescribe;

(ua)      “Digital media” means any information or content that is broadcast including text, audio, video, graphics, web TV, over the top TV and other such content made available for viewing over the internet;

(ub)      “Media enterprise” means an enterprise concerned with the publication of a printed newspaper or a broadcast media or digital media or distribution service;

          (uc)     “Media employee” means any person employed to do any work in, or in                           relation to, any media establishment and includes—

(ud)      A whole-time journalist, including an editor, a leader writer, news editor, feature writer, reporter, correspondent, copy tester, cartoonist, news photographer, calligraphist and proof-reader; and a whole-time non-journalist, including a manager, clerk, steno typist, printing engineer, linotype operator, composer, type-seller, photo studio attendant, printing worker, an accountant and an office peon

(ue)      “License” means a license issued by the Authority to establish and operate             a broadcast media, print media or digital media or distribution service;

(uf)      “Licensee” means a person to whom the Authority has issued a license;

(ug)      “Newspaper” means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news in print form and online form and includes such other class of newspaper as prescribed by the authority;

(uh)     “news agency” means an establishment which collects and disseminates to the print and electronic media, as well as other consumers news, features, comments, photographs and graphics through wire-service, facsimile or other means of communications

(ui)      “prescribed” means prescribed by rules or regulations made under this Ordinance;

(va)      “Publisher” means a person who undertakes or is responsible for, the publication in print form or online form, of any work or newspaper or any printed material either on his behalf or on behalf of any other person, organization or company;

(vb)      “Member” means a member of the Authority including its Chairman;

(vc)      “National broadcaster” means the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, the Pakistan Television Corporation and the Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company;

(vd)     “Online platform” means online information and content delivery systems accessed via internet for the purpose of watching television (live or     recorded) or similar     content services, such as web TV channels, youtube       channels, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc and “Over The Top (OTT) content”    means television channels or content provided via internet to users either free of cost or through a subscription fee; 

(ve)      “PTA” means the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority established under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Act, 1996 (XVII of 1996);

(vf)      “Person” includes an individual, partnership, association, company, trust or corporation;

(vg)      “Prescribed” means prescribed by the rules or regulations made by the Authority;

(vh)      “Programme” means the systematic broadcasting of visual or sound images by a broadcast station;

            (vi)       “Regulations” means the regulations made under this Ordinance;

(vj)       “Registration certificate” means certificate issued for publication and news   

                        digital platform by the authority.

(vk)      “Rules” means the rules made under this Ordinance;

(w)       “Teleport” means a facility with installed       equipment used or required in the process of up linking or downlinking of audio-visual programmes and signals between an earth station and a satellite;

(w)       “Tribunal” means a tribunal established under this ordinance;          

(x)        “Uplinking” means transmission of audio-     video signal from ground transmission facility to a satellite, in order to transmit any programme within or outside Pakistan.

(y)        “Wages” means wages as defined in the Payment of Wages Act 1936 and includes any gratuity or other payment declared as wages by the Wages Board;

3.         Establishment of the Authority. – (1) As soon as may be, after the commencement of this Ordinance, the Federal Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, establish an authority to be known as the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) for carrying out the purposes of this Ordinance.

(2)        The Authority shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal with powers subject to the provision of this Ordinance to hold and dispose of property by the said name, sue and be sued.

 (3)       The principal office of the Authority shall be at Islamabad with its regional offices in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and at such place or places in the country as it may deem appropriate.

(4)        No act or proceeding of the Authority shall be invalid by reason only of the existence of a vacancy in, or defect in the constitution of, the Authority.

4.         Functions of the Authority. –  (1)  The Authority shall:

  1. regulate the establishment and operation of electronic media including broadcast media and distribution services in Pakistan established for the purpose of international, national, provincial, district, local or special target audiences, foreign TV, radio and digital media services being received or distributed in Pakistan;
  2. regulate the establishment and operation of printing press, print media including newspapers, news agencies, journals, magazines etc;
  3. audit of circulation of newspapers and rating of broadcast and digital media platforms;
  4. regulate the establishment and operation of digital media including online newspapers, web TV channels, OTT content platforms, online news channels, video logs etc.;
  5. grant and renew licenses or registration certificates or declaration or NOC for electronic, print, digital media services and film services;
  6. monitor and enforce licenses or registration certificates or declaration or NOC;
  7. regulate the transfer of licenses or registration certificates or declaration or NOC and changes in management / transfer of shares of licensees;
  8.  investigate and adjudicate on complaints and other claims made against licensees arising out of alleged contraventions of the provisions of this Ordinance, the rules & regulations made and licenses or registration certificates issued thereunder and take action accordingly;
  9. promote the availability of a wide range of high quality, efficient, cost effective and competitive media services throughout Pakistan;
  10. promote and protect the interests of users of media services in Pakistan;
  11. regulate competition in the media sector and protect consumer rights;
  12. perform such other functions as the Federal Government may, from time to time, assign to it;
  13. prescribe fees including fees for grant of licenses, base prices, annual fees including fixed and variable fee, renewal fees & levy fee and other charges at such rates and in respect of such services as may be prescribed from time to time;
  14. prescribe fines for contravention of the provisions of this Ordinance;
  15. issue guidelines and standards operating procedures;
  16. perform any other function which is incidental or consequential to any of the aforesaid functions;
  17. prescribe standards for media equipment including equipment at licensee end ans subscriber end equipment, certify compliance of such equipment with prescribed standards, grant NOC for import of such equipment in Pakistan (if any) and issue type approvals for media equipment;
  18. carry out inspections of media equipment and any premises owned or occupied by the licensees and summon any person for investigation and an enquiry;
  19. collect information with respect to media within and outside Pakistan and review the impact thereof;
  20. If it considers appropriate to do so, undertake bidding process for grant and renewal of licenses on such terms and conditions as the Authority may determine from time to time;
  21.   Grant No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Film distribution, exhibition, shooting and production

5.         Power of the Federal Government to issue directives. –  The Federal Government may, as and when it considers necessary, issue directives to the Authority on matters of policy, and such directives shall be binding on the Authority, and if a question arises whether any matter is a matter of policy or not, the decision of the Federal Government shall be final

6.         Members of Authority. – (1) The Authority shall consist of a Chairman and eleven (11) members to be appointed by the President of Pakistan on the advice of the Federal Government.

(2)        The Chairman of the Authority shall be appointed from a panel of grade 21-22 of Information Group officers.

(3)        Out of eleven (11) members appointed by the Federal Government, six (06) shall be eminent citizens chosen to ensure representation of all provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with expertise in one or more of the following fields:  media, art, film, law, cyber security, human rights, engineering, management and social service. Of the six (06) members from the general public, two (02) members shall be women.

(4)        Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Secretary, Interior Division, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue and Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan shall be the ex-officio members.

            (5)        The members shall receive such fee and expenses for each meeting as may be prescribed.

            (6)        A member, other than an ex-officio member, shall be deemed to have vacated his office if he absents himself for three consecutive meetings of the Authority without the leave of the Authority.

7.         Tenure of members. – (1) The Chairman and members, other than ex officio members, unless earlier removed for misconduct or physical or mental incapacity, shall hold office for a period of four years and shall not be eligible for re-appointment

Provided that the Chairman and a member shall retire on attaining the age of sixty-five years.

            Explanation. –  For the purposes of this section the expression misconductmeans conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude and includes conduct prejudicial to good order or unbecoming of a gentleman.

            (2)        The Chairman or a member may, by writing under his hand, resign from his office. The President or the Federal Government may remove the Chairman or a member from his office if he is found unable to perform the functions of his office due to mental or physical disability or to have committed misconduct.

            (3)        In case of a vacancy occurring due to the death, resignation, retirement or removal of any Member of the authority including Chairman, the Federal Government shall appoint another qualified person within a period not exceeding three months from the date the vacancy occurred as Chairman or member.

(4)        The federal Government may appoint an acting chairman out of the four fulltime members of the authority for a maximum period of three months to perform day to day functions.

8.         Meetings of the Authority, etc. (1) The Chairman or, in his absence, the member elected by the members for the purpose, shall preside at a meeting of the Authority. 

(2)        One-third of the total members shall constitute a quorum for meetings of the Authority requiring a decision by the Authority.

(3)        The members shall have reasonable notice of the time and place of the meeting and the matters on which a decision by the Authority shall be taken in such meeting.

(4)        The decisions of the Authority shall be taken by the majority of its members present, and in case of a tie, the member presiding a meeting shall have a casting vote.

(5)        All orders, determinations and decisions of the Authority shall be taken in writing.

9.         Remuneration, of Chairman and members. – (1) The Chairman and members shall be paid such emoluments as the Federal Government may determine and shall not be varied to their disadvantage during their term of office.

10.       Chairman and members not to engage themselves in certain business, etc.

(1)        The Chairman or a member shall not, during his term of office, engage himself in any other service, business, vocation or employment, or enter into the employment of, or accept any advisory or consultancy relationship with any person or entity engaged in applying for a license from the Authority or operating any media related business within the purview of the Authority or in providing services or products to the Authority on any of the projects, schemes, proposals or plans undertaken, executed or supervised by the Authority or any related undertaking of such aforesaid person or entity. The Chairman or member shall not have any direct or indirect financial interest or any connection which might reasonably be viewed as giving rise to a conflict of interest with any person, entity or related under taking involved in any regulated activity.

(2)        The Chairman or member shall neither, for as long as he holds office and for a period of two years thereafter, seek or hold any office or employment nor acquire or purchase (whether in his name or otherwise) any interest in any company, corporation, partnership, trust, firm or company carrying on business in any regulated activity or the business of providing consultancy or advisory services any person undertaking any regulated activity.

11.       Officers, employees, etc. – (1) To carry out the purposes of this Ordinance, the Authority may, from time to time, appoint members of its staff, experts, consultants, advisers and other officers and employees on such terms and conditions as it may deem fit.

            (2)        The Authority shall prescribe by regulations the procedure for appointment, promotion, termination and other terms and conditions of employment of persons employed under sub-section (1).

12.       Officers, etc. deemed to be public servants. – The Chairman, members, members of its staff, other officers and employees of the Authority shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860).

13.       Delegation. –   The Authority may, by general or special order, delegate to the Chairman or a member or any member of its staff, or an expert, consultant, adviser, or other officer or employee of the Authority any of its powers, responsibilities or functions under this Ordinance as it may be prescribed:

            Provided that the delegation of such power shall not include the power to grant, issue, renew or revoke or cancel a national media license except regional, local or district level licenses or registration certificate.

14.       Directorates of Authority: To carry out the purpose of the Ordinance, the Authority shall post (03) full time executive members from Information Group officers of Grade 20 and above, who will be heading the Electronic Media, Digital Media and Print Media Wings for execution of the Ordinance. Brief of   directorates is given below:

  • Electronic Media Directorate: This directorate shall be responsible for carrying out all functions for regulating the establishment, operation, maintenance and enforcement of electronic media. The activities shall, inter alia, include licensing, holding bidding for the grant of licenses, renewal of licenses, formulation of eligibility criteria for licenses, initiation of legal actions for violation of any provision of the Ordinance, determination of fee & tariff including fee for grant of license, annual fee, renewal fee, variable fee including percent of annual gross revenue or gross advertisement revenue, holding of public and personal hearings, imposition of fine, confiscation and seizure of equipment used in illegal operation and other such tasks.
  • Print Media Directorate: This directorate shall be responsible for carrying out all functions for regulating the establishment, operation, maintenance and enforcement of print media. The activities shall, inter alia, include registration, audit of circulation, formulation of eligibility criteria for registration, central media list, initiation of legal actions for violation of any provision of the Ordinance, determination of fee & tariff including fee for grant of registration, annual fee, renewal fee.
  • Digital Media and Films Directorate: This directorate shall be responsible for carrying out all functions for regulating the establishment, operation, maintenance and enforcement of digital media and granting NOC for exhibition, shooting and production of films. The activities shall, inter alia, include licensing, holding bidding for the grant of licenses, renewal of licenses, formulation of eligibility criteria for licenses, registration, NOC,  and ratings, initiation of legal actions for violation of any provision of the Ordinance, determination of fee & tariff including fee for grant of license, NOC,  annual fee, renewal fee, variable fee including percent of annual gross revenue or gross advertisement revenue, holding of public and personal hearings, imposition of fine, confiscation and seizure of equipment used in illegal operation and other such tasks.
  • The Authority may also set up other sub-directorates or wings within each directorate to effectively carry out its functions. These sub-directorates or wings may include licensing, enforcement, legal, administration, human resource, finance, audit, technical or engineering, monitoring and other such wings.

15.       Fund. – (1) There shall be established a fund to be known as “PMDA Fund” which shall vest in the Authority and shall be utilized by the Authority to meet charges in connection with its functions including payment of salaries and other remunerations to the Chairman, members, employees, experts and consultants of the Authority.

            (2)        The Fund shall consist of. –

  • Seed money by the Federal Government;
  • License / registration certificate, declaration and NOC, application processing fees, annual fees including fixed fee and such percentage of gross revenue or gross advertisement revenue as determined by the Authority from time to time, renewal fees and such other fees as may be prescribed in connection with various categories of media licenses;
  • loans obtained with the special or general sanction of the Federal Government;
  • foreign aid obtained with approval of and on such terms and conditions as may be approved by the Federal Government; and
  • all other sums received by the Authority from any other source.

(3)        The Authority may open and operate one or more accounts in local, or                                foreign currency, in any scheduled bank

(4)        The Authority may invest its funds in such investments as it may, from time                       to time, determine.

(5)        The authority will dedicate a sizeable share of funds on media literacy,                               improving skills and technical knowhow of consumers and media persons.                   Funds will also be utilized for enhancing capabilities of media entities in                                   research and acquiring innovative techniques in production. The Authority                    will also encourage and facilitate local media outlets to showcase their                                media contents globally.

16.       Budget. –  The Authority shall, in respect of each financial year, prepare its own budget and submit it to the Federal Government three months before the commencement of every financial year for information.

17.       Accounts and Audit. – (1) The Authority shall maintain complete and accurate books of accounts of its actual expenses and receipts in such form as the Federal Government may, in consultation with the Auditor General of Pakistan, determine.

            (2)        The Authority shall cause to be carried out audit of its accounts by one or more auditors who are chartered accountants within the meaning of the Chartered Accountants Ordinance, 1961 (X of 1961).

            (3)        Notwithstanding the audit provided in sub-section (2) the Auditor-General shall have the power to audit or cause to be audited the accounts of the Authority.

18.       Annual report. –  The Authority shall compile and submit an annual report on its operations and accounts for each financial year to the President of Pakistan and shall also arrange for its publication and circulation to the media and the public.

19. Categories of licenses, registration certificates, declaration and No Objection Certificates. – (1) The Authority shall issue licenses for electronic, print and digital media in the following categories, namely: –

(i)         National scale;

            (ii)        Provincial and regional;

            (iii)       District and Tehsil level;

(iv)       Local Area and Community based;

  •       (iv)       Specific and specialized subjects;

            (v)        International scale targeting countries abroad;

(vi)       Other categories as the Authority may prescribe from time to time.

            (2)        The Authority may further sub-categorize the categories specified in sub-section (1) as it may deem fit, such as news & current affairs, entertainments, sports, regional language, education, agriculture, health, specialized subject, kids, travel & tourism, science and technology etc.

20.       Licenses, Registration Certificates, declaration and NOC for media services and films :(1) The Authority shall have exclusive right to issue licenses for the establishment and operation of all electronic, print and digital media services, provided that this exclusive right shall be used by the Authority in conformity with the principles of fairness and equity applied to all potential applicants for licenses whose eligibility shall be based on prescribed criteria notified in advance.

            Provided that the bidding shall be held for specific licenses of electronic media as may be prescribed by the Authority in case where the number of applications exceeds the number of licenses to be issued by the Authority.

(2)        No person shall engage in media service except after obtaining a license/ registration certificate and declaration and NOC under this Ordinance.

(3)        Every license/ registration certificate, declaration and NOC shall be subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed.

            (4)        The Authority shall have the power to determine number of licenses/ registration certificates to be issued in each category or sub-category of media services and charge fees at such rates as the Authority may fix from time to time for the grant of a license/ registration certificates, application processing fee, annual fees including fixed fee late payment fee and such percentage of gross revenue fee or gross advertisement revenue as determined by the Authority from time to time, renewal fees and such other fees as may be prescribed from time to time.

            (5)        The Authority shall devise a Code of Conduct for programmes and advertisements for compliance by the licensees or registration certificate.

21.       Terms and conditions of license or registration certificate or declaration or NOC. – Every license or registration certificate or declaration or NOC under this Ordinance shall contain terms and conditions which may, inter alia, include –

  • Conditions requiring the licensee registration certificate or declaration or NOC  to ensure preservation of the sovereignty, security and integrity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;
  • Conditions to ensure preservation of the national, cultural, social and religious values and the principles of public policy as enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;
  • Conditions to ensure that all programmes and advertisements do not contain or encourage violence, terrorism, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, sectarianism, extremism, militancy, hatred, pornography, obscenity, vulgarity or other material offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency;
  • conditions requiring the licensee to adhere to the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules and regulations made thereunder;
  • conditions requiring the licensees to pay the fees including license fee, annual fees including fixed fee and such percentage of gross revenue or gross advertisement revenue as determined by the Authority from time to time, renewal fee and such other fees as may be prescribed from time to time.
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to include in its daily transmission, broadcast, publication, programmes or information in the public interest specified by the Federal Government or the Authority in the manner indicated by the Government or, as the case may be, the Authority, provided that the duration of such mandatory programmes is not less than five per cent of the total duration of broadcast or operation or publication in twenty-four hours;
  • Conditions requiring licensee to comply with the codes of programmes and advertisements approved by the Authority and appoint an in-house monitoring Committee, under intimation to the Authority, to ensure compliance of the Code;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee not broadcast, distribute or publish anything in violation of copyright Ordinance 1962, the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan Act 2012 or other intellectual property right;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to obtain NOC from the Authority before import of any equipment used in connection with any media related activity or operation;
  • Conditions requiring to not sell, transfer or assign any of the rights conferred by the person without prior written permission of the Authority;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to not broadcast, distribute or make available online video footage of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and any other act which may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorist activities or terrorism;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to ensure that no anchor person, moderator or host propagates any opinion or acts in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan or sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan;
  • Conditions requiring the license to not broadcast, distribute or make available online any programme inciting violence or hatred or any action prejudicial to maintenance of law and order;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to not broadcast, distribute or make available online anything which defames or brings into ridicule the Head of State, or members of the armed forces, or legislative or judicial organs of the state;
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to not broadcast, distribute or make available online any programme or discussion on a matter which is sub-judice and however court reporting may be aired/publish in an informative manner; and
  • Conditions requiring the licensee to not broadcast, distribute or make available online anything which is known to be false or baseless or is malafide or for which there exist sufficient reasons to believe that the same may be false, baseless or malafide.
  • No broadcast media channel/ print media or digital media platform will be entitled for public sector advertisement till the completion of one-year non-stop operation   since its official launch.

22        Consideration of the application for a license or Registration Certificate.  The Authority shall take decision on the application for a license or Registration certificate and declaration or NOC expeditiously in an open, transparent, non-discriminatory and consistent manner within 100 working days which also covers security clearance proceedings.

23.       Exclusion of monopolies and undue concentration the Media Sectors.- (1) No person shall be entitled to the benefit of any monopoly or exclusivity in the matter of any media service or the establishment and operation of print, electronic or digital media services or in the supply to or purchase from, a national broadcaster of air time, programmes or advertising material and all existing agreements and contracts to the extent of conferring a monopoly or containing an exclusivity clause are, to the extent of exclusivity, hereby declared to be inoperative and of no legal effect.

            (2)        In granting a license or registration certificate and declarationthe Authority shall ensure that open and fair competition is facilitated in the operation of more than one media services and that undue concentration of media ownership is not created in any city, town or area and the country as a whole:

Provided that if a licensee owns, controls or operates more than one media service, he shall not indulge in any practice which may impede fair competition and provision of level playing field.

(3)        The Authority shall conduct market research every three years to determine significant market players in electronic, print and digital media sectors and shall issue regulations or guidelines restricting the grant of licenses beyond a limit in a particular media sector or prohibiting grant of licenses in multiple or cross media sectors with a view to avoid monopolies and undue concentration in the media sector by a single player or few players.

24.       Call for information: The Authority may call for any information, audited financial statements, or any other relevant document required for carrying out the purposes from any person involved directly or indirectly, licensee in respect of any regulated activity or any matter incidental or consequential thereto.  Any person called upon to provide such information, documents or reports shall do so within the stipulated time period and his failure to do so shall be punishable by the imposition of such fines as may be prescribed.

25.       License/ registration certificate and declaration, NOC application, issuance, refusal and validity. – (1) Any person desirous of obtaining a license/registration certificate, declaration and NOC for any media service shall apply to the Authority in such manner and form as may be prescribed.

(2)        The Authority shall process each application in accordance with prescribed criteria and shall hold public hearings in the respective provincial capitals of each Province, or as the case may be, Islamabad, before granting or refusing the license or registration certificate.

(3)        Each application shall be accompanied by such application processing fee as the Authority may prescribe.

(4)        A license or registration certificate, declaration and NOC for any media service shall be valid for a period of five, ten or fifteen years subject to payment of the annual fee and such other fees as prescribed from time to time and subject to compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, rules or regulations and terms and conditions of license/ registration certificate.

 (5)       The Authority may renew a license or registration certificate and declaration on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed and in case of refusal to renew a license or registration certificate and declaration reasons shall be recorded in writing.

26.       Certain persons not be granted license or registration certificate. – (1) A license or registration certificate, declaration and NOC for print, digital media or electronic media service and films shall not be granted to—

(a)        a person who is not a citizen of Pakistan or resident in Pakistan;

(b)        a foreign company organized under the laws of any foreign government;

(c)        a company the majority of whose shares are owned or controlled by foreign nationals or companies whose management or control is vested in foreign nationals or companies; or

            (d)       any person funded or sponsored by a foreign government or organization                           including any foreign non-governmental organization.

27.       Media Complaints Council. – (1) The Federal Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, establish Media Complaints Council at Islamabad, the Provincial capitals, Sukkur, Multan, Gawader , Gilgit , Muzaffarabad  and also at such other places as the Federal Government may determine.

            (2)        Each Council shall receive, scrutinize, investigate and review complaints made by persons or organizations from the general public against any aspects of news, analysis, programmes on print, broadcast, films and online platforms or distributed by any media service provider established through a license or registration certificate, declaration and NOC issued by the Authority and complaint from media workers for nonpayment of wages.

(3)        Each Council shall consist of a Chairperson and five members being citizens of eminence from the general public at least two of whom shall be women.

(3 a) Advisory Commission: It will be composed of four members from the government, four members from stakeholders and chairman of the authority with an advisory role to shortlist panels for members, chairman of Media Complaints Councils as well as Chairman and members of the Media Tribunal as prescribed by the rules.

            (4)        The Councils shall have the powers to summon a licensee/ registration certificate, declaration and NOC against whom a complaint has been made and call for his explanation regarding any matter relating to its operation and employment matter of the licensee.

  • The Authority shall formulate rules for the functions and operation of the Councils within two hundred days of the establishment of the Authority.
  • The council shall have powers of civil court in certain matters. – The Council shall have all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure,1908 (Act V of 1908), in respect of the following matters, namely: –
  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person; and
  • Requiring the supply of any information and production of any document which may be useful for the conduct of personal hearing.

            (7)        The Councils may recommend to the Authority after receiving a complaint within a period of 20 days appropriate action of censure, fine against any media service provider or licensee for violation of any provision of the Ordinance or the codes of programme and advertisements for the media services as approved by the Authority as may be prescribed. The council may also recommend a fine against the complainant for filing of frivolous complaint.  

28.       Prohibition of print, electronic or digital media service and films operation. – The Authority shall by order in writing, giving reasons thereof without issuing show cause notice and affording opportunity of hearing, prohibit any person, print media, electronic media or digital media service operator or licensee or platform for a period as may be prescribed from –

  • Printing, Broadcasting, Webcasting, re-broadcasting, distributing or making available online any programme, advertisement or content if it is of the opinion that such particular programme, advertisement  or content is against the ideology of Pakistan or is likely to create hatred among the people or is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility or endangers national security or is pornographic, obscene or vulgar or is offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency, this shall also apply to foreign broadcast having landing rights of the Authority or any digital media service operating from abroad but with Pakistan as target market and operating under a license of the Authority; or
  • engaging in any practice or act which amounts to abuse of media power by way of harming the legitimate interests of another licensee or willfully causing damage to any other person.

29.       Giving airtime to any foreign broadcaster or media service operator. – The electronic media licensee of the Authority shall not enter into an agreement with any foreign broadcaster to sell its air time or otherwise provide its air time to another foreign broadcaster or any media service operator without prior written permission of the Authority.

30.       Suspension of any media service operation. –  An electronic, print or digital media licensee shall not cease or suspend its operation during the validity of its license except on account of force majeure or with the prior approval by the Authority.

31.       Issue of enforcement orders, imposition of penalties, inspections of any media licensee- (1) The Authority, or the Authorized Officer may inspect the premises of any media licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC for purposes of inspection to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, the rules and regulations made there under or the terms & conditions of license or registration.

(2)        The premises of any media licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC shall, at all reasonable times, be open to inspection by the Authority or any officer under sub-section (1) and the licensee shall provide such officer with every assistance and facility in performing his duties.

(3)        The authorized officer under sub-section (1) shall, within forty-eight hours of the inspection, submit his inspection report to his officer and recommend such actions as may be required under the Ordinance, the rules or regulations made there under or the terms and conditions of license or registration.

            (4)        The Authority or the authorized officer may undertake any investigation in any matter with regard to its functions and to seek any specific information, from any person, which the Authority may deem useful in order to enable it to determine and dispose of such matter.

            (5)        The Authority or the authorized officer after issuing a show cause notice to any media licensee or registered entity and declaration, may seize its equipment, or seal the premises, which is being used in contravention of the provisions of this Ordinance or the rules or regulations made there under or terms and conditions of license or any other law:

            Provided that the equipment shall be returned to the holder of a valid license or registration after imposing on him such penalty as the Authority or the authorized officer may determine within the limits prescribed by the Authority:

            (6)        Where a licensee contravenes any provision of this Ordinance or the rules or regulations made thereunder or any term and condition of the license or registration, the Authority, Chairman or any of its officers not below the rank of director may by a written notice require the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC to show cause within seven days as to why an enforcement order may not be issued. This shall be followed by an opportunity of hearing to be conducted by a committee constituted by the Chairman headed by an officer not below the rank of a Director General comprising officers from the enforcement, licensing, legal and any other such directorate or sub-directorate of the Authority as may be required.

(7) The notice referred to in sub-section (6) shall specify the nature of the contravention and the steps to be taken by the licensee to remedy the contravention.

(8) Where a licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC fails to—

(a) respond to the notice referred to in sub-section (6); attend hearing on the date specified in the notice or

(b) satisfy the committee constituted by the Chairman for hearing in sub-section (6) above about the alleged contravention; or

(c) remedy the contravention within the time allowed in the notice referred to in sub-section (6) above, the Authority or the Chairman may on the recommendation of the committee, by an order in writing — (i) levy fine which may extend to twenty-five million rupees.

32.       Dues to be recovered as arrears of land revenue. – All fees, dues including outstanding license fee, annual renewal fee, late payment fee or any other charges including fine as imposed by the Authority or the Chairman or any of its officer shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.

33.       Power to vary or modify the license or registration or declaration or NOC conditions. —  The Authority shall have the power to vary or modify a licence or registration certificate, declaration and NOC and its terms and conditions on the request of the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC on payment of such fee as may be prescribed. 

34.       Power to suspend or revoke the license or registration certificate, declaration or  NOC e. – (1) The Authority or the Chairman may revoke or suspend the license or registration certificate  declaration, NOC of Print media, digital media, broadcast media or films or distribution service by an order in writing on one or more of the following grounds, namely: –

  • the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC has failed to pay the license fee, annual renewal fee or any other charges including fine, if any;
  • the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC has contravened any provision of this Ordinance or rules or regulations made thereunder or an order passed under section 28;
  •  
  • the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC has failed to comply with any condition of the license; and
  • where the licensee or registered entity, declaration and NOC is a company, and its shareholders have transferred a majority of the shares in the issued or paid up capital of the company or if control of the company is otherwise transferred to persons not being the original shareholders of the company at the time of grant of license or registration certificate, without written permission of the Authority.

(2)        The Authority may vary any of the terms and conditions of the license or registration certificate, declaration and NOC where such variation is in the public interest.

(3)        Except for reason of necessity in the public interest a license or registration certificate, declaration and NOC shall not be varied or revoked under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) unless the licensee has been given reasonable notice to show cause and a personal hearing.

(4)        License of a broadcast media and registration certificates for print and digital media may be suspended on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) by a duly constituted committee comprising members of the Authority.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (5) of section 29 or any other provision of this Ordinance, where the Authority takes action under sub-section (3) without notice by reason of necessity in the public interest, the Authority or the Chairman, as the case may be, may order in writing direct to seize the equipment of media station or seal the premises of the licensee:

Provided that in a situation of emergency the Authority or the Chairman may direct closure of any broadcast or distribution network for such period as it may determine.

35. Tribunals. – (1) The President may, by notification in the official Gazette, establish Media Tribunal and the federal government shall specify the territorial limits within which each such Tribunal shall exercise jurisdiction under this Ordinance. The Tribunal has all such powers including the contempt.

(2) A Tribunal shall consist of–    Ten members including a Chairman. The Chairman of the Tribunal shall be a person who has been, or is, qualified to be a judge of High Court. The President shall appoint the Chairman. Other members shall be appointed by the federal government from amongst citizens of eminence and learning having substantiated experience in media, films, cyber security, finance, human rights and law. The Advisory Commission comprising of four members from the government, four members from stakeholders and chairman of the authority shortlist panels for Chairman and members of the Media Tribunal as prescribed by the rules.

(3) The Chairman and members of a Tribunal shall be appointed on such terms and conditions as be prescribed by the federal government.

(4) The Chairman or a member of a Tribunal may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

(5) Benches of the Tribunal. – (1) The powers and functions of a Tribunal may be exercised or performed by Benches consisting of not less than two members of Tribunal, including the Chairman, constituted by the Chairman.

(2) If the members of a bench differ in opinion as to the decision to be given on any point,

(a)      the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority;

(b)      if the members are equally divided and the Chairman of the Tribunal is not himself a member of the bench, the case shall be referred to the Chairman and the decision of the Tribunal shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the Chairman;

           and

(c)      if the members are equally divided and the Chairman of the Tribunal is himself a member of the bench, the opinion of the Chairman shall prevail and the decision of the Tribunal shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the Chairman.

(6) Powers of Tribunal: 

a)        To decide the appeals filed any person against the order or decision of the Media Complaints Council or authority.

b)       To implement wages for print, broadcast and digital media persons. Tribunal will also oversee their employment and professional related issues with media employees.

c)        To exercise such control and disciplinary powers over the members and employees of the tribunal as may be prescribed

d)       To levy and collection of fee for filing of an appeal as may be prescribed

e)        To make regulations for the smooth functioning of the tribunal

36.       Appeal before Tribunal. –  Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Authority may, within (30) thirty days of the receipt of such decision or order, an appeal to the tribunal established by the Federal Government within whose territorial jurisdiction the proceedings were held and impugned order was passed and Tribunal shall decide the appeal within a period of 45 (forty-five) days.

37. Jurisdiction of courts barred-. Save as otherwise provided by this Ordinance, only Supreme Court of Pakistan shall have jurisdiction to question the legality of anything done or decision or any action taken under the ordinance.

38.       Up linking Facilities. – (1)   No person shall carry out up linking, broadcasting or newsgathering without a valid teleport or satellite TV license or temporary uplinking permission of the form the Authority;

(2)        The Authority may, subject to fulfillment of such conditions, as may be prescribed, issue permission in writing to any party to carry out temporary uplinking from a ground transmission facility to a satellite in order to transmit any programme within or outside Pakistan.

39.       Power to grant exemptions.-  The Authority may grant exemptions from any provisions of this Ordinance, where the Authority is of the view that such exemption serves the public interest and the exemptions so granted  shall be supported by recording the reasons for granting such exemptions in writing provided that the grant of exemptions shall be based on guidelines and criteria identified in the regulations and that such exemptions shall be made in conformity with the principles of equality and equity as enshrined in the Constitution.

40.       Offences and penalties. – “(1) Any licensee and registered entity, declaration and NOC holder or person who violates or abets the violation of any of the provision of this Ordinance shall be guilty of offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine which may extend up to two  twenty five million rupees or with both.

(2).  Where any licensee and registered entity, declaration NOC holder or person who repeats the violation or abetment, such person shall be guilty of offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine which may extend to TWO Twenty-five million rupees or with both.

            (3)        Where the violation, or abetment of the violation of any provision of this Ordinance is made by a person who does not hold a license, or registration certificate, declaration and NOC such violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine upto two twenty-five Million, or with both, in addition to the confiscation of the equipment used in the commission of the act.

            (4)        Whosoever damages, removes, tampers with or commits theft of any equipment of a media station, printing press or system, cinema houses  licensed by the Authority, including transmitting, broadcasting, uplinking apparatus, receivers, boosters, converters, distributors, antennae, wires, decoders, set-top boxes or multiplexers, servers etc. shall be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine upto two twenty five million , or both.

41.       Officers of Federal, Provincial and Local Governments to assist Authority. – The officers of the Federal government, Provincial Government and Local Governments including the Capital territory police, the Provincial Police, Federal investigation agency Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) shall assist the Authority and its officers in the discharge of their functions under the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules and regulations made there under.

42.       Warrants for search.- (1) Where on information furnished by the Authority, the area magistrate has reason to believe that any unlicensed or unregistered  media  service is being owned, controlled or operated or its equipment is being kept or concealed, it may issue a search warrant and the person to whom such warrant is directed, may enter the premises where such unlicensed or unregistered broadcast media , print media , digital media or distribution service is being owned, controlled, operated or provided or its equipment is being kept or concealed, or carry out search and inspection thereof and seize all or any equipment therein.

            (2)        Any equipment of media station seized under sub-section (1) having no ostensible owner shall vest with the Authority.

43.       Offences to be cognizable and compoundable. – The offences under section 41 shall be cognizable and compoundable.

44.       Cognizance of offences etc.- (1) No court inferior to that of a Magistrate of the first class shall try an offence punishable under this Ordinance.

(2)        Notwithstanding anything contained in section 32 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898), it shall be lawful for any Magistrate of the first class to pass any sentence authorized by this Ordinance even if such sentence exceeds his powers under the said section 32.

45.       Offences by companies. – (1) Where any offence under this Ordinance has been committed by a person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company itself shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

(2)        Where the person guilty of an offence under this Ordinance, is a company, corporation or firm, every director, partner and employee of the company, corporation or firm shall, unless he proves that offence was committed without his knowledge, or consent, shall be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

46.       Ordinance overrides other laws.-  (1)  The provisions of this Ordinance, rules and regulations made and licenses issued thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, rule or regulation, for the time being in force and any such law, rule or regulation shall, to the extent of any inconsistency, cease to have any effect from the date this Ordinance comes into force and the Authority shall, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, be exclusively empowered to determine the matters in its jurisdiction as set out in this Ordinance:

Provided that –

(a)        the national broadcasters, namely the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation shall continue to be regulated by the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Act 1973 (XXXII of 1973) and the Pakistan Television Corporation and Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company Limited shall continue to be administered under the provisions of the Companies Act 2017; and

(b)           the provision in sub-section (a) above shall apply to the national broadcasters to the extent of their broadcasting only i.e. television or radio broadcasting whereas in all other matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Authority, the provisions of this Ordinance shall have the overriding effect.

(c)        Other digital media, electronic media, print media, shall henceforth be regulated by this Ordinance except in respects where specific exemptions are granted by the federal government.

47.       Indemnity. –  No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Federal Government or any Provincial Government or local authority or any other person exercising any power or performing any function under this Ordinance or for anything which is in good faith done or purporting or intended to be done under this Ordinance or any rule made thereunder.

48.       Power to make rules. – (1) The Authority may, with the approval of the division concerned, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules to carry out the purposes of this Ordinance.

(2)        In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the fore-going power, such rules may be provided for all or any of the following matters, namely: –

            (a)        to prescribe the forms for the licenses/ registration certificates for working, installing, operating, or dealing in transmission, broadcast, print, digital or distribution, publishing, webcasting, webstreaming, video on demand or any other media related apparatus and the manner in which applications for the licenses or registration certificates shall be granted;

            (b)        to prescribe the terms and conditions of the license and registration certificate and declaration

            (c)        to prescribe standards and measures for the establishment of printing press, broadcast media stations, installation of broadcasting, distribution service, teleporting equipment, transmitters, webstreaming and video streaming, video on demand servers and other allied equipment, content delivery networks, receivers, boosters, converters, distributors, common antennae;

            (d)       to prescribe terms and conditions for the electronic, print or digital media operators who own, control or operate more than one category of media licenses or media enterprises; and

            (e)        to define the circumstances constituting undue concentration of media ownership and abuse of powers and anti-competitive practices by media companies in consultation with Competition Commission of Pakistan

49-(1) Repeal and Saving. -The Press Council Ordinance ,2002, The Press, newspaper, news Agencies and books Registration Ordinance,2002, Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973, Pakistan Electronic Media Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA Amendment Act 2007 and The Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979 are hereby repealed. All moveable and immovable assets, financial savings and liabilities of the of the above abolished organizations shall be transferred to PMDA. The Federal Government will retain only shortlisted officers and officials from the above organizations purely on merit, qualification and relevant experience for Pakistan Media Development Authority and the remaining will be placed in surplus pool.

(2)  Notwithstanding the repeal of said ordinances, acts, without prejudice to the provision of section 24 of the General Clauses Act, 1987, anything done, appointments made and the terms of appointment already fixed, notifications, rules and regulations made, licenses issued, forms prescribed, proceedings commenced, or action taken under that the said ordinances, acts shall, so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance, continue in force and be deemed to have been made, issued or taken under the provisions of this ordinance.

50. Application to existing licensees, NOCs, Declarations, Registration certificates and operations: — (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Ordinance, all persons lawfully carrying on regulated activities immediately before the commencement of this Ordinance shall be deemed to be validly carrying on such regulated activities pursuant to this Ordinance:

51.       Removal of difficulties. –  If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Ordinance, the Authority may make such order, not inconsistent with provisions of this Ordinance, as may appear to it to be necessary for the purpose of removing the difficulty.

President

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