Update: May 30, 2021 5:17 p.m. STI
Islamabad [Pakistan], May 30 (ANI): A collective group of civil and rights organizations in Pakistan has categorically rejected the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) draft order 2021 that the country’s federal government intends to impose .
The Federal Union of Pakistan Journalists (PFUJ), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) issued a joint statement condemning the bill. The group called the bill “draconian in scope and devastating impact” on the country’s constitutional principles.
“The bill has a draconian scope and a devastating impact on constitutional principles and guarantees of freedom of expression, media freedoms, the right to information as well as the profession of journalist”, it reads in the heavily drafted joint statement.
Civil and rights bodies have raised serious objections to the draft ordinance, saying the bill reflects a “hostile mindset to the concept of freedom of expression and people’s right to information. “.
The ordinance proposes to repeal all current media laws in the country and wants them to be merged under the PMDA. The PFUJ, HRCP and PBC have warned that overthrowing the current media regulatory regime, as proposed in law, would destroy all public media as it exists in Pakistan today.
“This evil step is yet another departure from promises made by the Prime Minister to expand freedom of expression before taking the oath. This ordinance will further strengthen the government’s grip on all forms of media, including print, electronic, etc. media and social media, as well as theater and films, ”the release said.
They also denounced the proposed creation of media courts to impose sentences of up to three years in prison and PKR 25 million in fines on content producers for violating the new repressive provisions.
“The proposed ordinance is nothing less than the imposition of ‘martial law on the media,’ media and civil society leaders said. They pledged to resist these draconian measures by the government. by involving trade unions, universities, political parties and citizens’ organizations. (ANI)