The Ministry of Information has decided to form a joint committee after consultations with representatives of all media institutions and organisations.
The committee will review the proposed media regulation and make recommendations. The Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) has apparently been postponed for the time being.
Journalists staged a protest in front of the Parliament House against the proposed PMDA, which aims to muzzle media freedom. The protest started on Sunday, September 12. Journalists marched from the National Press Club to the Parliament House and stayed overnight.
As journalists continued with sit-in outside of the Parliament House against the government’s proposed PMDA, prominent leaders from political parties, student unions, and members of the civil society also joined in to show solidarity.
In a first in Pakistan’s history, reporters were not allowed to enter a joint session of Parliament on Monday, September 13.
Parliamentary reporters were to be present in the press gallery for President Alvi’s address but entered the hallway to find that the door was locked. The press gallery was closed for the journalists.
The Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) strongly condemned the closure of the press gallery and said, “Closing the gallery is the worst dictatorship.”
However, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser said that he closed the doors of the press gallery during the president’s speech to a joint session of parliament after getting ‘reports’ that there was a possibility of a ruckus between two journalists’ groups.
The Speaker claimed that he made this decision after consulting the PRA.
“I couldn’t afford a fight between two groups in Parliament which could have resulted in the disrespect of media and the House,” Qaiser said adding, “however, there was some misunderstanding.”