Monday, May 31, 2021
Web Desk

Opposition rejects govt's proposed media ordinance, calls it 'draconian'

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb criticise govt's Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance 2021 on Twitter

Web Desk

  • PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb criticise PTI government's proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority Ordinance, 2021.
  • Rehman says the proposed law may even extend control to digital platforms. 
  • Earlier, civil and rights bodies in Pakistan had also condemned new media ordinance, termed it a 'media martial law'.

Opposition parties PPP and PML-N are not pleased with the government's newly proposed media ordinance, with both PPP Senator Sherry Rehman and PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb taking to Twitter to criticise the ordinance Monday.

The Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021 is a plan for "institutionalising censorship", Rehman said.

Under the new ordinance, media outlets will "either become state mouthpieces or go under", Rehman wrote.

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.

Read more: EU concerned over state of freedom of press in Pakistan

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.