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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, Wednesday, while condemning media censorship in the country has said that media restrictions are tantamount to suffocating Pakistan.

Addressing an event organised by the Pakistan Union of Journalists (PFUJ) here, she said that today every common citizen was aware of the problems being faced by the countrymen and who is responsible for the situation.

She said that restricting media from freely reporting is not going to resolve the problems being faced by the people as even a pushcart man knows who is behind all this mess.

She said that hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs within the past three years rule of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government, many of the known journalists were restricted from appearing on the TV screens, and various TV shows were not allowed to broadcast, all this shows that freedom of expression has been made a crime in the country.

She said that the government has made all out efforts to control the media and the newly-introduced “Media Development Authority Bill” is also a step in this regard.

Had the government worked for the welfare of the people it would have not brought Media Development Authority like legislation, adding that according to the ARY TV channel during Panama case proceedings, TV channels had conducted 4,000 TV shows against the PML-N government.

In the past three years, media persons have faced worst kind of situation as they were abducted, attacked, harassed, and deprived of their jobs but despite the fact, Safe City cameras are functioning in Islamabad and Lahore like cities, the ruler says they were totally not aware of any such incident.

Sugar is available at Rs30 per kg not at Rs150 per kg, dollar exchange rate has not touched Rs180 but is stable at Rs97, Imran Khan government has built five million homes for Pakistan or 10 million jobs have been provided to the masses”, while questioning about the “positive reporting” under the prevailing situation she said sarcastically.

She said that her party was not believing in media regulation as free media defines the development and progress of any nation. Today, media is unable to air market surveys as people before commenting on the price hike and economic situation start calling bad names to Imran Khan-led government.

She said that if the forces violating basic human rights and Constitution can be on one page, why not those upholding the constitution be on the same page, adding that Pakistan has started moving on the right track as nobody is going to stop talking against injustice.

She maintained that today, the country has plunged into multiple crises but the government instead of resolving the problems was busy in suffocating media freedom.

While expressing solidarity with the family of the missing senior journalist Mudassar Naru, who is missing since 2018, she said that she hopes that the journalist will be released soon. She further hoped that his child would soon be reunited with his father.

She also flayed the PTI government for bulldozing the parliament, saying the members of the ruling party have revealed that they were forced to attend the joint session of the parliament.

She said that all the members of opposition parties must join hands and challenge the forced legislation in the court.

She also criticised the outgoing director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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