The International Press Institute (IPI) on Monday expressed its support for protests launched by journalists in Pakistan against the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) legislation and urged the government to withdraw it.
Journalists in Pakistan launched a sit-in protest outside the Parliament in the capital Islamabad demanding that the government withdraw the controversial PMDA bill.
The IPI, a global network of editors, media executives and journalists for press freedom, previously warned that the law, which would expand government regulatory oversight over the media, would severely undermine press freedom in the country, says a statement issued on Monday.
“The IPI global network stands in solidarity with journalists in Pakistan protesting against the draconian PMDA legislation, which would gravely weaken press freedom in Pakistan”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “The PMDA bill would expand state control over media and therefore undermine the watchdog role that the press must play in any democracy. IPI urgently repeats its call on the Pakistani government and lawmakers to reject this bill. If regulatory changes are needed, they must be developed in close cooperation with media representatives and civil society and must reflect international standards on freedom of expression.”
In June, IPI had written an open letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan urging him to withdraw the proposed bill.
Underscoring the importance of press freedom in Pakistan, IPI called on the prime minister not to implement the ordinance. “Your excellency, we urge you to reconsider the decision of the government to promulgate the PMDA ordinance and withdraw it immediately, as it will have a devastating impact on a free media in a democracy that Pakistan promises to be”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said in the letter.