Civil, rights physique in Pakistan condemn new media ordinance

May 30, 2021, 5:17 p.m. IS

Islamabad [Pakistan]May 30 (ANI): A collective group of civil and legal organizations in Pakistan has completely rejected the proposed 2021 ordinance of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), which the country’s federal government intends to impose.
The Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Pakistani Human Rights Commission (HRCP) and the Pakistani Lawyers Council (PBC) issued a joint statement condemning the proposed law. The group described the proposed law as “draconian and devastating on the country’s constitutional principles”.
“The proposed law has a draconian scope and devastating effects on the constitutional principles and guarantees of freedom of expression, freedom of the media and the right to information and the profession of journalist,” reads the strongly worded joint statement.

Citizens and judicial bodies have raised serious objections to the draft regulation, finding that the proposed law “reflects a mindset that is hostile to the concept of freedom of expression and people’s right to information”.
The ordinance proposes repealing all of the country’s current media laws and merging them under the PMDA. The PFUJ, HRCP and PBC warned that changing the current media regulatory regime, as proposed in the law, would destroy all public media as it exists in Pakistan today.
“This Malafide move is another U-turn on the Prime Minister’s promises to expand freedom of expression prior to taking his oath of office. This regulation will undermine the government’s influence over all types of media, including print, electronics, and social media and drama and films,” it says in the declaration.
They also opposed the proposed establishment of media courts to impose sentences of up to three years in prison and fines of PKR 25 million on content producers for violating the repressive new regulations.
“The proposed regulation is nothing less than the establishment of a” media war right, “said media and civil society leaders, who vowed to oppose such draconian moves by the government by bringing unions, universities, political parties and civic organizations on board. ” ANI)

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