KARACHI: The media Joint Action Committee (JAC) has expressed its serious concern over the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) decision to challenge the nullification of clause 20 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (Peca), 2016, by the Islamabad High Court last month.

The JAC — comprising the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) — “is of the considered opinion that the petition was an attempt to once again invoke the ‘black law’, which was put to rest by the honourable Islamabad High Court only last month”, the committee said in a statement on Saturday.

The committee said it had been given personal assurances from the then leading members of the opposition — including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan emir Sirajul Haq — that the draconian law was not acceptable.

While rejecting the amendments in the Peca law, Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had assured the JAC that the government would review the original Peca Act after holding deliberations with all stakeholders.

“The Joint Action Committee has sought fulfilment of the assurances previously given by the coalition government.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been asked to personally intervene and see this matter through and ask the concerned to hold discussions with the JAC to address the gaping holes in the Peca Act 2016,” the statement said.

“The Joint Action Committee believes that any failure to do so would only lead to fingers being directed against the credibility of this government’s commitment to freedom of speech,” it said.

The JAC appreciated the information minister’s statement that the FIA had filed the petition without government’s knowledge and that it was being withdrawn.

However, the committee demanded that a thorough investigation must be initiated to find out how FIA filed the petition without taking the relevant ministries into confidence.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...
Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...