Summary by the Commission of arguments in favour of Perspective Three
in Category Terms of Reference No. A
Summary by the Commission of arguments in favour of Perspective Three i.e. the complete abolition of the Federal Ministry of Information and the Broadcasting and the Provincial Departments of Information.
1. That in the 21st century, the generation of information has become so
exponential and the nature of media, broadcast media, print media, social media, cell phones etc. — has become so diverse and decentralized that it is beyond the capacity of a Government-run Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Provincial Departments of Information, to handle such a barrage of data and material and that the radically-changed relationship between the people and the media should determine the flow of information rather than be controlled, obstructed or distorted by Government entities.
2. That there is a well-established, historically proven tendency for misuse of the official Information machinery by the Governments-of-the-day for narrow, partisan purposes. That even after reforms of parts of the Federal and Provincial structures, by their continued existence alone, even in an enervated form, a Federal Ministry of Information and the Provincial Departments of Information would, de facto, represent an inconsistency with Article 19 of the Constitution and, indeed, would violate the rights of citizens to have unfettered access to accurate and truthful information. For example, APP, the principal news agency of the country is solely owned and controlled by the Federal Government. News provided by APP (allegedly) always favours the Government-of-the-day and discriminates against the Opposition and other non-official entities.
3. That the increasingly sophisticated and complex skills required to operate in, and manage the diverse and rapidly-evolving technologies in the media and information sectors are not available, for the most part, amongst the personnel serving in the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and in the four Provincial Departments of Information. That therefore, these official institutions charged with the task of dealing with the contemporary information and media sectors are simply not professionally capable of meeting the needs of the time and age and that thus, even the justification for Government to possess an Information management entity is not fulfilled by the limited levels of skills and quality available amongst the bureaucracies of the Ministry and Departments.
4. In any case, the financial terms and benefits — apart from permanence of tenure, pension etc. — offered by the Government employment system which applies to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Departments of Information fails to attract the most competent or appropriate individuals to work in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and in the Provincial Departments.
5. The control exercised by the Ministry of Information and the Provincial Departments over the selection of advertising agencies and the selection of print and/or electronic media for the placement of Government-related advertising is inherently over-centralized, and lends itself easily to misuse, malpractices, discrimination and rampant corruption.
6. That the allocation of secret funds to the Federal Ministry of Information enables the Ministry to become a conduit for funds to be used in an illicit and unethical manner so as to covertly influence and distort news content and analytical content in media. Thereby, conveying inaccurate, imbalanced versions of events and actions to the public at large. That such power to use the public exchequer for publicly-undeclared purposes, violates principles and norms, and subverts the letter and spirit of Article 19 of the Constitution.
7. That the existence of the Federal and Provincial infrastructures devoted to Information gives an unfair advantage to the Governments-of-the-day compared to the political Opposition, inside and outside Parliament, and compared to those other elements of society which are not part of ruling coalition’s or the ruling party and do not have access to similar infrastructures of Information.
8. That Government of advanced countries does not contain Ministries of Information thereby proving that one of the pre-conditions for countries to become well-developed and advanced as democracies is that they dismantle or abolish those institutions and organizations which are potentially capable of being misused, such as Ministries of Information & Broadcasting, etc.