PESHAWAR: Awami National Party and Pakistan Peoples Party have rejected the federal government’s proposed media ordinance and vowed to support journalists in their struggle against the plan to curtail freedom of expression.
ANP central president Asfandyar Wali Khan in a statement here on Monday said that media supported Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for bringing it into power but now its government was bent upon suppressing the media.
He said that different civil rights bodies including journalists, layers, civil society organisations, lawmakers and political parties had already rejected Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021. He said that government should avoid enacting such laws to gag voice of people.
Had the government any sympathy with the journalists, it would have appointed chairman for Implementation Tribunal for Newspapers Employees (ITNE) and head of Press Council of Pakistan, said the ANP leader. He said that government was avoiding filling different vacancies in various departments to resolve the pending issues.
The journalists, he said, had launched campaign against the proposed law, which would deprive them of the right of appeal in any case against them. Besides, he said, the proposed huge penalties on journalists and media houses were beyond imagination.
Mr Khan said that all such restrictions were meant to chain media. He added that such steps taken by a democratic government had not been initiated by military dictators in the past.
“We will continue to support journalists in their struggle for independence of media at all costs,” said the ANP chief.
Meanwhile, PPP central general secretary Nayyar Hussain Bukhari told media persons here on Monday that his party had always struggled for civil rights and freedom of expression.
He said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had participated in the protest sit-in organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists outside Parliament House and assured the journalists of support in the campaign against the proposed law.
He said that government should avoid taking such steps that could create anger among people. He added that a democratic government was not expected to devise such policies.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2021