Opposition leaders join media persons in condemning draconian media bill


Journalists set up a protest camp outside Parliament to denounce proposed PMDA bill

Zubair Qureshi

A large number of journalists, media persons and members of the local, regional and national organizations and representative bodies of journalists staged a peaceful sit-in outside the Parliament House against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill on Sunday.

Led by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the National Press Club and the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists the sit-in was participated by the members of the print, electronic and social media representatives, members of civil society and human rights groups in large number.

They termed the PMDA as Pakistan Media Destruction Authority and vowed to resist it until the government announces to withdraw it.

A day earlier, the PFUJ had appealed all the stakeholders to join the sit-in. the protest will continue during President Arif Alvi’s address to the Joint Session of the National Assembly and Senate on Monday (today).

“It is time to demonstrate unity for a common cause. The proposed PMDA will not just be a body to regulate the media sector but will serve as the central censorship office of the state aimed at regulating the freedoms of expression of all citizens of Pakistan,” the statement issued by PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and General Secretary Nasir Zaidi said.

“The sit-in aims at at demonstrating solidarity and pooling widespread support against the creation of the PMDA and strategising the protection of freedom of expression of citizens, defending the rights of journalists, and pre-empting the planned assault on independent media in the country,” the statement said.

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