The media organisations have totally rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance, terming the concept an unconstitutional and draconian law aimed against freedom of press and expression and a step towards imposing state control to regulate the establishment as well as operation of all segments of media.
It came during a joint meeting of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ, Barna Group), PFUJ (Dastoor Group) and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND).
The joint meeting was of the unanimous opinion that the proposed PMDA is intended to hinder media freedom and take control over the media by the top information bureaucracy.
The concept is an attempt to tighten the federal government’s hold over the media through one draconian authority ignoring the fact that print, digital and electronic media are separate entities each with their own defined features and respective regulatory laws.
The move appears as an extension of the now defunct Press and Publications Ordinance 1963 (PPO) of the Ayub Khan era to all media platforms with regimental provisions to take over the independent and free media.
“This has no place in a democratically elected dispensation,” the joint declaration stated.
The joint meeting decided to resist the establishment of PMDA at all levels including legal recourse, protest measures and advertising campaigns to educate the public against this blatant attempt to subjugate and control the media and curtail peoples’ right to know.
The meeting decided to form a Joint Action Committee of APNS, PBA, CPNE, PFUJ and AEMEND to decide further actions and seek support from political parties, bar associations, human right organisations and other segments of the civil society to oppose the proposed attack on media and urge upon the federal government to immediately withdraw the proposal.