Wednesday Apr 28 2021
Web Desk

PEMRA notice on coverage of cabinet meetings akin to gagging the media: AEMEND

Web Desk
— Reuters/File

KARACHI: The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) on Wednesday said it "strongly objects" to the recent restrictions on TV channels "in the name of 'advice’" to report on proceedings of the Federal Cabinet through sources.

According to a statement released by the association: "AEMEND is of the firm view that if there is news concerning the proceedings and decisions of the Federal Cabinet, and official circles decline to say anything on the record, it is the responsibility of the media to report matters of public interest."

It said that senior government officials themselves on occasion provide information on cabinet proceedings while requesting anonymity.

"AMEND further notes that the federal government has the right to contradict or clarify the news reported," the statement said.

The association said that PEMRA's notice "is tantamount to gagging the media simply for attempting to do its job and keep the public informed".

AEMEND President Azhar Abbas said that rather than acting as an independent regulator, PEMRA is becoming a tool to impose censorship.

“This and more such advice and actions to curb media freedom is making PEMRA more controversial,” Abbas said.

AEMEND Secretary General Ammad Yousuf said that media freedom is enshrined in the Constitution and any attempt to restrict it will be resisted at every level by the media.

“The government and Ministry of Information should take note of PEMRA’s attempt to impose censorship,” Yousuf said.

Terming the advice "unacceptable", AEMEND has asked all journalist unions and media organisations to jointly take a stand "against this calculated move to push censorship and undermine constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the media".