Three broader perspectives about the role of Government and its entities in respect of Article 19 and 19 (A)

in Category Terms of Reference No. A


3. On the basis of material brought before the Commission on TOR No. A, material both verbally expressed, and in written form, the following three basic, broad perspectives reflect three different views about the role of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and other Government agencies in respect of ensuring freedom of print and electronic media and in fulfillment of the spirit and letter of Article 19 & 19 (A) of The Constitution of Pakistan" target="_blank">Article 19 and 19 (A):

(1) One perspective was provided by the Federal Ministry of Information and the four Provincial Departments of Information and related organizations and departments under their control.

This perspective, predictably, strongly supported the role of the Ministry at the Federal level and of the Departments of Information at the Provincial level and stressed that there was ample justification for their continued functioning.

(ii) A second perspective stated by some non-official individuals and organizations as well as by some who are part of the official sector was of the view that there are some negative facets of the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Provincial Departments of Information. For instance, undue and unhealthy control by the Ministry and Departments over the allocation of Government-controlled advertising, and hence exercising undue influence on media content, the control of State media and the use of secret funds, it was stated that these controls should be dismantled or reformed. Subsequent to such changes, both the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Provincial Departments of Information should continue functioning because they would render services required in the public interest.

(iii) The third perspective was offered by non-official individuals and organizations. This consists of the firm opinion that there is no need for a Ministry of Information at the Federal level nor Departments at the Provincial level, that some of the functions can be transferred to either new forums based on the public-private partnership model, or be completely eliminated and that the basic function of projecting an official viewpoint on any given issue should become the responsibility of specialist information personnel or spokespersons based in each Ministry of the Federal Government, and in the various other Departments of the Provincial Governments.

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