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’Govt wants to curtail independence of media through PMDA’ Monday, 13 September 2021

’Govt wants to curtail independence of media through PMDA’



Islamabad [Pakistan], September 12 (ANI): The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and termed it an attempt to tighten the Imran Khan-led government’s control over the media from one platform.

According to Dawn, all the members of the newspapers’ society unanimously rejected the proposed PMDA, which appears to be an extension of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to all media with more regimental provisions to subjugate and take over the independence of free media.

The Executive Committee of APNS at a meeting held on Thursday with society’s president Sarmad Ali in the chair was briefed on the meetings held between the stakeholders and the federal government on the establishment of the PMDA, the Dawn stated.

It added that the executive committee said that the proposal was unconstitutional as any federal legislation to regulate print media is beyond the power of parliament after the 18th Constitution Amendment.

Meanwhile, experts suggest that Pakistan’s freedom of the press is under threat as the country’s government is poised to place more curbs by implementing the so-called new law Pakistan Media Development Authority.

Despite being a democratic state, Pakistan continues to suppress free speech in digital spaces, stopping its citizens from participating in the working of the state by depriving them of a resourceful channel for vocalizing their concerns.

Writer Mehmil Khalid cites an assessment report ‘Pakistan Freedom of Expression Report 2020’ by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) to say that the country performed poorly in all the indicators that determine free speech and that the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the digital censorship in Pakistan.

Pakistan scored 30 points out of 100 on the assessment report index, which analysts say proves the fact that the government has placed curbs on free speech and disallowed people to talk especially about the pandemic and the related information. (ANI)

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