‘Proposed media ordinance an attempt to impose media martial law’

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) have rejected
the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021.

“The proposed legislation is draconian in scope and devastating in
its influence on the constitutional ideas and ensures for freedom of
expression, media freedoms, and the fitting to info in addition to the
career of journalism,” a joint assertion by the PFUJ, HRCP and PBC mentioned.

The proposed legislation embodies the anti-media proclivities of an
military of spokespersons the incumbent authorities has recruited, the assertion

The ordinance proposes to repeal all present media associated
legal guidelines together with The Press Council Ordinance 2002, The Press, Newspapers, News
Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2002, the Newspaper Employees
(Conditions of Services Acts) 1973, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA Amendment Act 2007, and The Motion
Pictures Ordinance 1979. All will probably be merged below Pakistan Media Development
Authority (PMDA).

The PFUJ, HRCP and PBC have warned that upending the present
media regulatory regime will destroy all public media because it exists in Pakistan
immediately. “This malafide step is one other U-turn from the guarantees made by prime
minister about increasing freedom of expression earlier than he took oath of workplace.
This ordinance will additional tighten the grip of the federal government on all types of
media that features print, digital social media, drama and movies,” the
assertion mentioned.

The assertion mentioned that the proposal to nominate a Grade 22
bureaucrat to head the PMDA is tantamount to formalizing a regime of coercive

The media and lawyer organizations mentioned that the proposed
institution of media tribunals to hand out punishments of up to three years
in jail and up to Rs25 million in fines to content material producers for violating
the repressive new provisions is “nothing less than imposing media martial law.”

They mentioned that they’ll take commerce unions, academia,
political events and residents organisations on board to resist such draconian makes an attempt
steps of the federal government.

 “The authorities has already imposed a significant censorship
regime on mainstream media and it now needs to lengthen that from TV, radio and
print to on-line journalism.”

They assertion recalled that comparable makes an attempt made within the
previous by way of PEMRA and PTA in 2020 weren’t solely vehemently opposed however
outrightly rejected by all stakeholdersThey mentioned the Islamabad High Court had
given keep on PFUJ’s petition that challenged comparable draconian social media

The PFUJ, HRCP and PBC mentioned that the proposed legislation will make
it obligatory for every type of media together with print, TV, radio, OTT and
web information web sites, to get hold of not solely 5-year to 15-year licenses however
annual NOCs to stay operational.

“This is censorship by one other identify as these not solely increase
entry boundaries for brand new media gamers but additionally to preserve older and extra
skilled media gamers hostage to the whims of bureaucrats, authoritarian
politicians and behind the scene powers pulling strings to make media targeted
solely on survival, not professionalism,” they added.

“The government and ruling party will itself become the biggest victim of the draconian law by crushing freedom of expression of citizens and media freedoms for journalists as no one will be left to speak for it and communicate with its constituents,” they additional added.

“The proposed heavy fines and penalties will not be accepted to the PFUJ or any journalist in the country. This is aimed at undermining freedoms enshrined in the  constitution guarantees under Articles 19 and 19-A. The propose law is ultra vires of the constitution and must be immediately withdrawn failing which country wide protests will be launched by journalists and concerned citizens,” the assertion concluded.

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