Media Laws-Media Laws and Ethics-Handouts, Lecture notes for Media Laws and Ethics. Qauid-e-Awam University of Engineering Sciences & Technology
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adnan.jutt7 August 2012

Media Laws-Media Laws and Ethics-Handouts, Lecture notes for Media Laws and Ethics. Qauid-e-Awam University of Engineering Sciences & Technology

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In Media Laws and Ethics, we studied related lat in Pakistan constitute. Main topics of course are law of copyright, contempt of court, electronic media, ethics responsibility and advertising. This lecture includes: Paki...
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Media Laws and Ethics – MCM 610 VU

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LESSON 09MEDIA LAWS

Introduction Mass Media systems of the world vary from each other according to the economy, polity, religion and culture of different societies. In societies, which followed communism and totalitarianism, like the former USSR and China, there were limitations of what the media could say about the government. Almost everything that was said against the State was censored for fear of revolutions. On the other hand, in countries like USA, which have a Bourgeois Democracy, almost everything is allowed. Shifting our view to the Pakistani perspective and its system of Parliamentary Democracy, it is true that, the Press is free but subject to certain reasonable restrictions imposed by the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. Before the impact of globalization was felt, the mass media was wholly controlled by the government, which let the media project only what the government wanted the public to see and in a way in which it wanted the public to see it. However, with the onset of globalization and privatization, the situation has undergone a humongous change. Before the invention of communication satellites, communication was mainly in the form of national media, both public and private, in Pakistan and abroad. Then came 'transnational media' with the progress of communication technologies like Satellite delivery and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), the outcome: local TV, global films and global information systems. In such an era of media upsurge, it becomes an absolute necessity to impose certain legal checks and bounds on transmission and communication in the due course of this article; we would discuss the various aspects of media and the relevant legal checks and bounds governing them. Historical Perspective of Mass Media Laws Mass Media laws in Pakistan have a long history and are deeply rooted in the country’s colonial experience under British rule. The earliest regulatory measures can be traced back to 1799 when Lord Wellesley promulgated the Press Regulations, which had the effect of imposing pre-censorship on an infant newspaper publishing industry. The onset of 1835 saw the promulgation of the Press Act, which undid most of, the repressive features of earlier legislations on the subject. Thereafter on 18th June 1857, the government passed the ‘Gagging Act’, which among various other things, introduced compulsory licensing for the owning or running of printing presses; empowered the government to prohibit the publication or circulation of any newspaper, book or other printed material and banned the publication or dissemination of statements or news stories which had a tendency to cause a furore against the government, thereby weakening its authority. Then followed the ‘Press and Registration of Books Act’ in 1867 and which continues to remain in force till date. Governor General Lord Lytton promulgated the ‘Vernacular Press Act’ of 1878 allowing the government to clamp down on the publication of writings deemed seditious and to impose punitive sanctions on printers and publishers who failed to fall in line. In 1908, Lord Minto promulgated the ‘Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908 which authorized local authorities to take action against the editor of any newspaper that published matter deemed to constitute an incitement to rebellion. After the creation of Pakistan different media laws have been made in different times and conditions and are amended according to the need. As part of our overall objective of creating an improved media law environment the law department undertakes activities like counseling radio and TV stations on media laws, provides free publications related to media law, works with legislation to improve media freedoms and to develop a database of new media operators. Before starting the laws let us see the freedom of information ordinance 2002 Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 The freedom of information ordinance introduced in 2002 contains some positive features acknowledging citizens right to know. However, the 21st day time frame for the release of information and inclusion of courts and tribunals, among those require disclosing information mar its true spirit. Large amounts of information are also not subject to disclosure under the ordinance, largely undermining the public’s right

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to know. Instead of applying to all records held by public bodies, the ordinance provides a, restrictive list of public records subject to disclosure. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."An Ordinance to provide for transparency and freedom of information Whereas it is expedient to provide for transparency and freedom of information to ensure that the citizens of Pakistan have improved access to public records and for the purpose to make the Federal Government more accountable to its citizens, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto And Whereas the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action; Now, Therefore, in pursuance of the Proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October, 1999, and the Provincial Constitution Order No 1 of 1999, read with the Provisional Constitution (Amendment) Order No 9 of 1999, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance: - 1. Short title, extent and commencement, - (1) This Ordinance may be called the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002. (2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan. (3) It shall come into force at once. 2. Definition, - In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, - (a) “Complainant” means (i) a requester, or (ii) Any person acting for and on behalf of requester (b) “Complaint” means any allegation in writing made by a complainant; (i) where he is a requester, that access to record has been wrongfully denied to him by a public body; (ii) where he is a requester, that access to and/or correction of his personal information has been wrongfully denied to him by a public body having the custody or control of the record; (iii) where he is a requester that the information requested by him has been unduly delayed by a public body; (c) “designated official” means an official of a public body designated under section 10; (d) “employee” , in relation to a public body, means a person employed in a public body whether permanently or temporary; (e) “Federal Tax Ombudsman” means Federal Tax Ombudsman appointed under section 3 of the Establishment of the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000 (XXXV of 2000); (f) “Mohtasib” means the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) appointed under Article 3 of the Establishment of the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (PO No 1 of 1983); (g) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Ordinance; (h) “public body” means; (i) any Ministry, Division or attached department of the Federal Government; (ii) Secretariat of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament); (iii) any office of any Board, Commission, Council, or other body established by, or under, a Federal law; (iv) courts and tribunals; (i) “record” means record in any form, whether printed or in writing and includes any map, diagram, photography, film, microfilm, which is used for official purpose by the public body which holds the record; docsity.com

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3. Access to information not to be denied. - (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, and subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, no requester shall be denied access to any official record other than exemptions as provided in section 15. (2) This Ordinance shall be interpreted so as (i) To advance the purposes of this Ordinance, and (ii) To facilitate and encourage, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of information; 4. Maintenance and indexing of records. - Subject to provisions of this Ordinance and in accordance with the rules that may be prescribed, each public body shall ensure that all records covered under clause (i) of section 2 of this Ordinance are properly maintained. 5. Publication and availability of records. - The acts and subordinate legislation such as rules and regulations, notifications, by-laws, manuals, orders having the force of law in Pakistan shall be duly, published and made available at a reasonable price at an adequate number of outlets so that access thereof is easier, less time-consuming and less expensive. 6. Computerization of records. - Each public body shall endeavor within reasonable time and subject to availability of resources that all records covered by the provisions of this Ordinance are computerized and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that authorized access to such records is facilitated. 7. Declaration of public record. - Subject to the provision of section 8, the following records of all public bodies are hereby declared to be the public record, namely: - (a) Policies and guidelines; (b) Transactions involving acquisition and disposal of properly and expenditure undertaken by a public body in the performance of its duties; (c) Information regarding grant of licenses, allotments and other benefits and privileges and contract and agreements made by a public body; (d) Final orders and decisions, including decisions relating to members of public; and (e) Any other record which may be notified by the Federal Government as public record for the purposes of this Ordinance. 8. Exclusion of certain record. - Nothing contained in section 7 shall apply to the following record of all public bodies, namely: - (a) Nothing on the files; (b) Minutes of meetings; (c) Any intermediary opinion or recommendation; (d) Record of the banking companies and financial institutions relating to the accounts of their customers; (e) Record relating to defence forces, defence installations or connected therewith or ancillary to defence and national security; (f) record declared as classified by the Federal Government; (g) Record relating to the personal privacy of any individual; (h) record of private documents furnished to a public body either on an express or implied condition that information contained in any such documents shall not be disclosed to a third person; and (i) Any other record which the Federal Government may, in public interest, exclude from the purview of this Ordinance. 9. Duty to assist requesters A public body shall take necessary steps as may be prescribed to assist any requester under this Ordinance.docsity.com

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10. Designation of official (1) A public body shall designate and notify an officer or employee to whom requests under this Ordinance are to be made. These officials will be designated to ensure easy public access to information. (2) In case no such official has been designated or in the event of the absence or non-availability of the designated officials, the person in charge of the public body shall be the designated official. 11. Functions of designated official Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules made there under and the instruction if any, of the Federal Government, the designated official shall provide the information contained in any public record or, as the case may be, a copy of any such record. 12. Applications for obtaining information, etc (1) Subject to sub-section (2), any citizen of Pakistan may make an application to the designated official in the form as may be prescribed and shall with his application, furnish necessary particulars, pay such fee and at such time as may be prescribed. (2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall apply to such public record as has been published in the official Gazette or in the form of a book offered for sale. 13. Procedure for disposal of applications (1) Subject to sub- section (2), on receiving an application under section 12, the designated official shall, within twenty-one days of the receipt of request, supply to the applicant the required information or, as the case may be, a copy of any public record. (2) In case the designated official is of the opinion that- (a) The application is not in the form as has been prescribed; (b) The applicant has not furnished necessary particulars or has not paid such fee as has been prescribed; (c) The applicant is not entitled to receive such information; (d) The required information or, as the case may, be the required record does not constitute a public record under section 7; (e) The required information or, as the case may be, the required record constitutes a record which is excluded under section 8; He shall record his decision in writing and the applicant shall be informed about such decision within twenty-one days of the receipt of the application. (3) The information from, or the copy of, any public record supplied to the applicant under sub-section (1), shall contain a certificate at the foot thereof that the information is correct or, as the case may be, the copy is a true copy of such public record, and such certificate shall be dated and signed by the designated official. 14. Exempt information from disclosure Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, a public body shall not be required to disclose exempt information. 15. International relations (1) Information may be exempt if its disclosure would be likely to cause grave and significant damage to the interests of Pakistan in the conduct of international relations. (2) In the Section, “international relations” means relations between Pakistan and (a) The government of any other foreign State; or (b) An organization of which only States are members. 16. Disclosure harmful to law enforcement Information may be exempt if its disclosure is likely to (a) Result in the commission of an offence; (b) Harm the detection, prevention, investigation or inquiry in a particular case; (c) Reveal the identity of a confidential source of information; (d) Facilitate an escape from legal custody; docsity.com

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(e) Harm the security of any property or system, including a building, a vehicle, a computer system or a communications system. 17. Privacy and personal information Information is exempt if its disclosure under this Ordinance would involve the invasion of the privacy of an identifiable individual (including a deceased individual) other than the requester. 18. Economic and commercial affairs Information is exempt if and so long as its disclosure (a) would be likely to cause grave and significant damage to the economy as a result of the premature disclosure of the proposed introduction, abolition of variation of any tax, duty, interest rate, exchange rate or any other instrument of economic management; (b) would be likely to cause significant damage to the financial interests of the public body by giving an unreasonable advantage to any person in relation to a contract which that person is seeking to enter into with the public body for the acquisition or disposal of property or the supply of goods or services, or (c) By revealing information to a competitor of the public body, would be likely to cause significant damage to the lawful commercial activities of the public body. 19. Recourse of the Mohtasib and Federal Tax Ombudsman (1) If the applicant is not provided the information or copy of the record declared public record under section 7 within the prescribed time or the designated official refuses to give such information or, as the case may be, copy of such record, on the ground that the applicant is not entitled to receive such information or copy of such record, the applicant may, within thirty days of the last date of the prescribed time for giving such information or, as the case may be, of such record, or the communication of the order of the designated official declining to give such information or copy of such record, file a complaint with the head of the public body and on failing to get the requested information from him within the prescribed time may file a complaint with the Mohtasib and in cases relating to Revenue Division, it subordinate departments, offices and agencies with the Federal Tax Ombudsman. (2) The Mohtasib or the Federal Tax Ombudsman, as the case may be, may, after hearing the applicant and the designated official, direct the designated official to give the information or, as the case may be, the copy of the record or may reject the complaint. 20. Dismissal of frivolous, vexations and malicious complaint Where a complaint instituted is found to be malicious, frivolous or vexatious, the complaint may be dismissed by Mohtasib, and fine may be imposed on the complainant up to an amount not exceeding ten thousands rupees. 21. Offence Any person who destroys a record which at the time it was destroyed was the subject of a request, or of a complaint with the intention of preventing its disclosure under this Ordinance, commits an offence punishable with imprisonment for, a term not exceeding two years, or with fine, or with both. 22. Indemnity No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything which is done in good faith or intended to be done in pursuance of this Ordinance or any rules made thereunder; 23. Ordinance not to derogate other laws The provisions of this Ordinance shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, anything contained in any other law for the time being in force. 24. Power to remove difficulties If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Ordinance, the Federal Government may, by order in the official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty. docsity.com

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25. Power to make rules (1) The Federal Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Ordinance. (2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, such rules may provide for- (a) The fee payable for obtaining information from, and copies of the public record; (b) The form of application for obtaining information from, and copies of, the public record; and (c) The form in which information from public record shall be furnished.

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