Journalists in Pakistan are protesting a proposed regulation that they are saying will adversely have an effect on the liberty of press within the nation. A whole lot of protesting journalists gathered exterior the Parliament Home in Islamabad on Monday to lift their voices towards the brand new Pakistan Media Growth Authority (PMDA) invoice.
The PMDA invoice proposes the alternative of present media legal guidelines with the PMDA as a regulatory physique that may “cater to the skilled and enterprise necessities of all types of media and their customers”, in keeping with a report by Pakistan-based media outlet Daybreak. Print, digital and broadcast media will fall beneath this physique’s purview.
If handed, the regulation would empower the PMDA to formally shut down media shops and penalise journalists and media homes by way of tribunals beneath its management. It could actually additionally monitor and regulate using social media, have entry to on-line commercial income and resolve wages within the business.
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Additionally, the proposal says that media houses will need to be registered with the PMDA and new digital media houses will need to obtain a license from the body, reports Dawn.com. It will also empower the authority to issue guidelines to media house on “national security issues” and the the creation of a cyber audit wing within it.
Protests outside parliament
Besides media members, opposition parties, student unions and activists have expressed solidarity with those standing against the proposed law. Opposition party leader including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari extended their support to the mediapersons.
On Sunday, protesting journalists marched from the Islamabad National Press Club to the Parliament House and staged a sit-in outside the premises. A day later, reporters were locked out of the press gallery while covering the joint parliamentary session. No explanation was given for the decision, reported Dawn.
The ruling party has refuted concerns of government overreach, with the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry saying that the law is meant to fight “the culture of fake news and make those people accountable who deal in such news.”
The government spokesperson has said that the PMDA being created through the new law would ensure timely payments to media workers and curb the menace of fake news, reported the Press Trust of India.