Govt, opposition trade bars on PMDA ordinance


Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said that new media law will be beneficial for the media workers.
In a tweet on Monday, the information minister said that under the new law, media workers would be able to approach courts of law against media houses in case of non-payment of salaries. He said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) opposed the amendment earlier and will do the same now as well because their interests are attached with the owners, not workers.
On the other hand, both major opposition parties, PPP and PML-N, on Monday criticised the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021, terming it a tool to silence opposing voices.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said that the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021 is a plan for “institutionalising censorship.” Under the new ordinance, media outlets will “either become state mouthpieces or go under censorship,” Rehman wrote.
She said there will be no onus on the government to provide warning or rationales for clampdowns and that the law may even extend control to digital platforms.
PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, meanwhile, called the ordinance a “draconian, authoritarian, repressive and punitive” instrument to “suppress constitutional freedom of expression of print media, electronic media and online citizen journalism.
Earlier, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had rejected the proposed media ordinance too.
They had called it “draconian in scope and devastating in its impact on the constitutional principles and guarantees for freedom of expression, media freedoms, and the right to information as well as the profession of journalism” in a joint statement.
The ordinance proposes to repeal all current media related laws including The Press Council Ordinance 2002, The Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2002, the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Services Acts) 1973, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA Amendment Act 2007, and The Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979. All will be merged under PMDA.