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Scribe groups reject proposed media development authority

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ANI | Updated: Sep 11, 2021 1:06 AM IST

Islamabad [Pakistan] September 11 (ANI): Pakistani journalists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday rejected the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill, saying it violates basic rights under the constitution. Journalists affiliated with various news organizations as well as members of the Peshawar Press Club and the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) adopted a unanimous resolution after a one-day seminar, The News International reported. Journalists affiliated with various press organizations and press associations called the law against article 19 of the country’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression to the people. The groups also said that “the proposed legislation would not only deprive journalists and media organizations of press freedom, but would also deprive civil society, students, lawyers, teachers, lawmakers, unions, activists. political, religious and in fact 220 million of the country’s population of their basic rights, reported The News International. Experts also suggest that press freedom in Pakistan is under threat as the country’s government led by Imran Khan is set to put more restrictions by enforcing the so-called new Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) law.

Despite being a democratic state, Pakistan continues to suppress freedom of expression in digital spaces, preventing its citizens from participating in the functioning of the state by depriving them of an ingenious channel to voice their concerns.

Writer Mehmil Khalid cites a Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) ‘Freedom of Expression Report in Pakistan 2020’ assessment report to say that the country performs poorly on all indicators that determine freedom of expression. expression and that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated digital censorship in Pakistan.

Pakistan scored 30 out of 100 points on the assessment report index, which analysts say proves the fact that the government has restricted freedom of speech and banned people from speaking in particular about the pandemic and related information. (ANI)

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