PMDA is unconstitutional and against the freedom of the press, says APNS

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All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has expressed its contrasting views on the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA).

According to the letter from the society, the concerned stakeholders believe the proposal is aimed at tightening the Federal Government control over the media through a single platform, ignoring the fact that each of the print, electronic and social media are separate entities having their own defined features.

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“The move to bring [them] under state control smacks of an authoritarian streak that should have no place in democratically elected dispensation,” reads the letter.

In a letter, the APNS called PMDA “an unconstitutional and draconian law against the freedom of press and expression” and requested the media organisations to publish and oblige the following statement at their ends:

It further states that the media organisations demand a joint meeting of Senate and National Assembly on Information, where the PMDA could be rejected completely.

Govt proposes media ordinance

The federal government had drafted a PMDA Ordinance, 2021.

The proposed law aims to repeal several existing laws:

  • The Press Council Ordinance, 2002
  • The Press, newspaper, news Agencies and books Registration Ordinance, 2002
  • Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973
  • Pakistan Electronic Media Ordinance 2002 as amended by PEMRA Amendment Act 2007
  • The Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979
  • Instead, under the ordinance a Pakistan Media Development Authority will be set up.

What is the PMDA?

The PDMA has been described in the Ordinance as “an independent, efficient, effective and transparent” authority which will regulate all forms of media, including digital media.

In fact, now, under the Ordinance, print and digital media will also need a license to establish and operate in the country.

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