Lahore: Journalists, writers oppose Pakistan Media Development Authority bill

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and the Association of Progressive Writers in collaboration with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (PLAC) held a seminar on the ongoing situation in the country and Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA) bill.

The seminar was held under the chairmanship of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi, reported The News International.
Addressing the event, Zaidi said: “We cannot make Pakistan a safe country without the protection of free media,” He added that the government’s propaganda of fake news is aimed at curbing media freedom.

Senior journalist Sohail Warraich said the struggle for the freedom of the press from the platform of the Association of Progressive Writers and the PUJ was a good omen for the country. The clear position of journalists and intellectuals in the seminar will guarantee the protection of freedom of the press, reported The News International.

Senior journalist Khawar Naeem Hashmi said that in the form of social media, 220 million people in the country were now playing the role of citizen journalists.

President PUJ Qamar Zaman Bhatti said now all writers, poets and thinkers would fall prey to the PMDA.

The speakers extended their full support to the PFUJ in the fight for freedom of the press and vowed to fully participate in the long march starting from Balochistan in November.

Calling the freedom of the press inevitable, many journalists and writers vowed to resist and fight against any such government move including the PMDA, as per the publication.

Despite being a democratic state, Pakistan continues to suppress free speech in digital spaces, stopping its citizens from participating in the working of the state by depriving them of a resourceful channel for vocalizing their concerns.

Writer Mehmil Khalid cited ‘Pakistan Freedom of Expression Report 2020’ by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) to say that the country performed poorly on all the indicators that determine free speech and that the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the digital censorship in Pakistan.

Pakistan scored 30 points out of 100 on the assessment report index, which analysts say proves the fact that the government has placed curbs on free speech and disallowed people to talk especially about the pandemic and the related information. (ANI)

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