Substantive reform of Federal and Provincial Information Ministries

The Commission concludes that the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the four Provincial Departments of Information require substantive re-structuring by which:-

i. certain departments and functions should be either abolished, or significantly reformed, in order to ensure that the continued functioning of this institutional framework does not impede or obstruct the fulfilment of rights guaranteed by Article 19; For instance, there should be horizontal de-centralization and decontrol in the selection of advertising agencies and selection of media for advertising by Government entities to replace the existing centralized system with a new accountable, monitored autonomy-based framework.

ii. due consideration be given by the next Parliament and the Government towards bringing together under a single new Federal Ministry the sectors of, on the one hand, “Information and Broadcasting” (and conventional mass media) and, on the other hand, the sectors of Information Technology and Telecommunication. To date, these two sectors have been supervised by two separate Federal Ministries. The subject of cinema, historically under the Federal Ministry of Culture (now devolved to Provinces after the 18th Amendment) should also be brought under the purview of the proposed new singular Ministry to ensure effective co-ordination of development and functions of all media.

The United Kingdom was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the new challenges posed by this convergence of telecommunication technology.

In 2003, a new entity known as “Ofcom” was created by the Communications Act, 2003 in the United Kingdom. This entity serves as the single focal point for the sectors of media, information technology and telecommunications.

This singularity ensures coordinated, purposeful, practical policy leadership and supervision by a single Central authority.

Till such time that such a radical re-alignment takes place, the need endures to re-structure the existing Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the assumption that the Ministry remains separate from any other Ministry.

The basic changes required have been summarized by the Commission in a preceding text dealing with Perspective Two.

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