‘Democracy will die’: Politicians, civil society join journalists in protest against proposed media authority – Pakistan

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Political events, pupil unions and members of civil society continued to specific solidarity with protesting journalists outdoors Parliament Home in Islamabad on Monday, becoming a member of them in elevating their voice in opposition to the proposed Pakistan Media Improvement Authority (PMDA) invoice.

The protesting journalists had marched on Sunday from the Nationwide Press Membership and reached outdoors the Parliament Home. They’ve been staging a sit-in since and say the protest will proceed until President Dr Arif Alvi’s handle to the joint session of parliament, which is scheduled to convene at 4pm on Monday (right this moment).

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N Info Sec­retary Marriyum Aurangzeb and MNA Mohsin Dawar, amongst others, visited the protest web site on Sunday night time to specific solidarity with the journalists.

A number of politicians, together with Senator Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani of the PPP, visited the protest camp on Monday and addressed the protesters.

Aurangzeb, together with PML-N chief Ahsan Iqbal, additionally visited the protest web site on Monday.

Addressing the protesters, Iqbal lambasted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf authorities for “attacking and trying to muzzle” the media.

Referring to the PMDA invoice, he dubbed it a “conspiracy” and mentioned if the invoice was handed, “democracy will die on this nation”.

The PML-N chief vowed to withstand the “fascist regulation”.

Expressing solidarity with journalists, he added, “You (journalists) have survived gunshots, kidnappings and financial homicide as you have been fired out of your jobs, however you did not cease talking the reality and I salute you for this.”

He recalled that journalists had additionally staged protests when the PML-N was within the authorities.

“However we took it sportingly,” Iqbal added.

Later, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressed the protest, saying that journalists within the nation had bravely fought in opposition to and defeated former president Pervez Musharraf previously, and they’d additionally put up a struggle in opposition to the incumbent authorities and its choices difficult media freedom.

“I imagine so far as the legitimacy of the federal government and media freedom are involved, all [of us] are on the identical web page,” he added.

The PPP chairperson mentioned he noticed the PMDA as a continuity of measures taken previously to put curbs on the media.

“Some folks don’t need journalists to suppose freely and battle for media freedom. We must always not yield to them, and no person will be capable to infringe upon our rights,” he mentioned.

He additional acknowledged that in current occasions, nations had been utilizing the media as a instrument to assault their rivals and to deal with the problem in Pakistan, media right here wanted to be empowered.

Bilawal mentioned in addition to being “an assault on press freedom”, the PDMA regulation was additionally an assault on democracy and unbiased judiciary and a “monetary assault”.

“It’s an try to grab journalists’ livelihood by placing such an enormous monetary burden [on them],” he added, asserting that the PPP would be a part of journalist protests throughout the nation.

Bilawal mentioned unbiased media was important for societal enchancment, including that “we’ll resist any transfer to gag the media via [the PMDA] laws”.

He advised the protesting journalists that he would method all related boards to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan’s authorities.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif too railed in opposition to the invoice, terming it a “black regulation” and expressing solidarity with journalists.

“The federal government would not have the center to cross it and we cannot enable it,” he thundered. Shehbaz warned the federal government in opposition to passing the “black regulation” in any other case it must bear the implications.

He mentioned the media had a fought a battle for its freedom and nobody may snatch it . The PML-N president added that he would protest the problem with different opposition leaders within the Nationwide Meeting and attempt to obtain consensus with PPP and different political events.

In the meantime, police remained deployed outdoors the Parliament Home as a safety measure.

Journalist Hamid Mir plans to host a chat present on the web site of the sit-in.

The protest name was given by numerous journalist our bodies, headed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

In the meantime, the Parlia­mentary Reporters Affiliation had additionally introduced that reporters would boycott the presidential handle in protest in opposition to the proposed media authority.

What’s PMDA?

The PMDA has been conceived as a regulatory physique that may “cater to the skilled and enterprise necessities of all types of media and their customers”, in accordance with a authorities proposal, and is supposed to interchange the present “fractured” regulatory atmosphere and “fragmented” media regulation by a number of our bodies.

Because of this in accordance with the proposal, the PMDA solely might be accountable for the regulation of print, broadcast and digital media in Pakistan.

Beneath an ordinance drafted for the institution of the authority, all earlier legal guidelines pertaining to media regulation, management or oblique management will doubtless be abolished and recent laws might be enacted, giving authorized cowl to the PMDA and its capabilities.

Nonetheless, the opposition and journalists see the invoice as an try to curtail the independence of media.

Addressing the protesters in Islamabad on Sunday, senior journalists representing numerous associations of media employees vowed to withstand the federal government transfer to implement the PMDA, terming it an effort to gag the press.

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