Islamabad [Pakistan], May 31 (ANI): Pakistan's opposition parties have rejected the Imran Khan government's newly proposed media ordinance, with both PPP and PML-N criticising the ordinance on Monday.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman said that the government is trying to push through Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021, which media, rights groups have termed a "media martial law".
"Plans to centralise media oversight under one draconian authority, annual NOCs to remain operational, suspension/ penalties on way," Rehman said. After the new ordinance, media outlets will "either become state mouthpieces or go under", she added.
Pakistan Muslim League (N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Twitter 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.
A collective group of civil and rights bodies in Pakistan has already rejected the proposed PMDA Ordinance 2021 that the country's federal government intends to impose.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) issued a joint statement to condemn the proposed law. The group termed the proposed law as "draconian in scope and devastating in impact" on the constitutional principles in the country.
"The proposed law is 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," the strongly-worded joint statement read.
The civil and rights bodies have raised serious objections to the draft of the ordinance, stating that the proposed law reflects a "mindset hostile to the concept of people's freedom of expression and right to information".
The ordinance proposes to repeal all current media-related laws in the country and wants them to be merged under the PMDA. The PFUJ, HRCP and PBC warned that upending the current media regulatory regime, as proposed in the law, would destroy all public media as it exists in Pakistan today. (ANI)