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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has urged the federal government to share the draft of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMDA) bill with the Parliament and the journalists’ organisations.

“All media associations of the country have rejected this dictatorial law as this is just another attempt by the government to silence its critics. Even the European Union (EU) has taken notice of the fact that no official text related to the PMDA has been made available. What exactly is the government trying to hide? This secrecy has made it obvious that the government is going to use this draconian law to muzzle the press,” PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, in a statement, on Thursday.

She said that everyone is aware of the fact that the government is putting curbs on the media to hide their own incompetence. She said that establishment of the Authority has become doubtful and controversial. She said that the journalist organisations have announced protests against the controversial authority.

She said that the PPP would fully support peaceful protests of journalists’ organisations on September 13 outside the Parliament.

She questioned, “How can a law be passed without consulting the parliament? Instead of ensuring the protection and security of journalists, the government is hell bent on infringing their constitutional rights and controlling them. Pakistan is considered to be one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and ‘Tabahi Sarkar’ is trying to create an even more hostile environment for journalists”.

She asked why the draft of bill on authority is still kept secret. What is in the draft law of the authority that the government is trying to hide? Where is the government consulting without a draft law?

She said that the PPP strongly reject this crackdown on the media and press, which is an outright violation of Article 19 and 19A.

PPP vehemently opposes PMDA and will fully support the journalists and their protests against this unconstitutional law,” concluded Rehman.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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