Pervaiz Elahi says PM Imran's advisers responsible for causing rift between govt and media

Published March 6, 2022
In this file photo, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi gestures during a meeting with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi in Lahore. — Photo courtesy Twitter/File
In this file photo, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi gestures during a meeting with Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi in Lahore. — Photo courtesy Twitter/File

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), on Sunday advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to "beware" of his advisers, accusing them of causing a rift between the government and the media.

In a statement released to media outlets, Elahi — also the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly — said he had been tasked by the prime minister to resolve issues between media houses and the government related to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), which has recently been amended by the government through an ordinance.

President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated an ordinance on Feb 20 to amend the Peca, drawing backlash from various journalists union, who later approached the Islamabad High Court challenging the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, online defamation has been made a non-bailable, cognisable offence and the jail term for defamation has been increased from three years to five years. The ambit of the Federal Investigation Agency has also been broadened.

In his statement today, Elahi said freedom of expression was the beauty of democracy.

He also expressed concerns over the reported withholding of advertisements for some newspapers and TV channels by the government, saying he was clueless as to why the PTI government was targeting certain media houses.

He said it seemed as if the bar on advertisements was imposed in the context of Peca, adding that government advertisements were public money and should not be used to target specific newspapers and channels.

Elahi said it was also surprising to note that some of the PTI members had reportedly been barred by the party from appearing in programmes of some TV channels.

"This will hurt PTI in a way that it won't be able to present its balanced viewpoint to the public," he added.

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