'Member should head media complaints panel'
KABUL (PAN): The Meshrano Jirga on Tuesday rejected the lower house decision that the information and culture minister should lead the media complaints commission, suggesting the panel’s head should be elected from amongst its members.
The Wolesi Jirga, debating amendments to a media law, had decided the minister of information and culture should head the media complaints commission. The law was enforced in 2002, but amended in 2009 with the proliferation of social media outlets. The lower house has approved Articles 42, 43 and 44 of the 54-article law.
Maulvi Mehmood Danishjo, the Senate Commission on Religious and Culture Affairs head, told the upper house the government had sought some amendments to the articles. He added the Wolesi Jirga had approved some of them and rejected others.
He said the government had sought a competent representative should lead the media complaints commission, but the Wolesi Jirga chose the information minister to head the panel.
However, he said the upper house commission believed members of the media body should elect their panel chief from amongst its members. Of the 60 senators present, 42 raised their green cards to approve the decision.
Another member of the commission, Sifatullah Haqmal, said the government had also recommended daily wages for members on the media commission. But that proposal was endorsed by the lower house and as well as by the Senate panel.
He said earlier media commission members would get salaries from the information ministry’s budget on a regular basis. But now they will receive salaries based on the recommendation of the minister and approval from the president for the days the members attend the commission’s meetings.
The proposal was approved by a majority of lawmakers. Under the Constitution, if one house of the parliament rejects a proposal of the other, a joint commission of both houses should be created to resolve differences.
Deputy Senate chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who chaired the session, also believed a joint commission should be created to resolve the controversy.
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