Pakistani journalists are protesting in front of the Parliament House against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), which aims to muzzle media freedom. The on-going protest started on Sunday. Journalists marched from the National Press Club to the Parliament House and stayed overnight.
They said the sit-in would continue till President Dr Arif Alvi’s address to the joint session of parliament, which is scheduled to assemble on Monday.
DETAILS OF THE PROTEST
Renowned journalists including Mazhar Abbas, Hamid Mir, Fahd Husain, Kashif Abbasi, Saleem Safi, Asma Shirazi, Gharidah Farooqi Imtiaz Alam, and Afzal Butt are participating in the protest, headed by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
Award-winning journalist @HamidMirPAK reiterates that it was the interference of “other elements” rather than the govt because of which he was taken off-air. He also says that although the govt called for the restoration of his show, he has yet to return to air pic.twitter.com/IszEdNm1cT— Voicepk.net (@voicepkdotnet) September 12, 2021
PFUJ general secretary Nasir Zaidi, while talking to Voicepk.net said, “Prior to this, we struggled against every law to control the press in the eras of dictators, and we will struggle against such laws even today.”
Senior journalist Afzal Butt said, “Many attempts had been made in the past to silence the media by dictators, but journalists successfully fought for their rights and this time too, the journalist community would protect freedom of the press.”
Journalist Imtiaz Alam stated that, “The government through the PMDA was trying to impose ‘media martial law’. “as per Dawn.
Journalists and politicians are criticising the government. “Parliamentary reporters have banned from sitting in the press gallery of Parliament for joint session,” tweeted PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman.
SUPPORT BY JOURNALISTS
Other journalists have expressed their concerns and showed solidarity with fellow journalists on social media accounts.
Pakistani journalists in Britain also condemned the Pakistan government’s plans to establish the PMDA.
“The officials of the High Commission called journalists individually and asked them not to hold the protest outside the High Commission premises and also issued threats of serious consequences for organising the protest,” wrote Murtaza Ali Shah for Geo News.
“The journalists particularly singled out the current information minister [Fawad Chaudhry] for first playing his role in the economic murder of journalists and now pushing through a black law to completely finish the private media which provides thousands of jobs to media workers,” he added.