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Freedom of media under black carpet again: Opposition rejects govt’s proposed media ordinance, calls it ‘draconian’

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb displayed serious reservation against government new authority on media.

Opposition parties PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned ruthlessly the new policy of media ordinance and they declared it as sheer violation of constitutional rights of media and pushed it towards martial media ordinance. Moreover, once again opposition parties like PPP and PML-N on one page against government new policy on media ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, media outlets will “either become state mouthpieces or go under”.

She said there will be no onus on the government to provide warning or rationales for clampdowns and that the law may even extend control to digital platforms.

Aurangzeb, meanwhile, called the ordinance a “draconian, authoritarian, repressive and punitive” instrument to “suppress constitutional freedom of expression of print media, electronic media and online citizen journalism.

She said she will address a press conference on the issue at 4pm today (Monday).

Earlier, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had rejected the proposed media ordinance too.

They had called it “draconian in scope and devastating in its impact on the constitutional principles and guarantees for freedom of expression, media freedoms, and the right to information as well as the profession of journalism” in a joint statement.

The ordinance proposes to repeal all current media related laws including 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 be merged under PMDA.

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