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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021

Freedom of expression is a right of all individuals and the media. In Pakistan, many media channels and newspaper were suppressed for airing the news contravene to the incumbent government. In Ayub’s era, many restrictions were imposed on the media and journalists under the pretence of taking pre-emptive measures against the so-called upcoming deteriorating situations. What is perplexing is that such restrictions did not only happen in dictatorial governments but also in democratic governments.

However, a milestone achievement was made by the PPP government in 2010 which inserted Article 19A which provided right to access to information. Many commissions and tribunals were established to ensure access to information. Ironically, despite these laws of freedom of speech and right to access information, many governments stop people and the media from reporting freely. Mere written laws cannot. There is a dire need that the government provide the right of freedom of speech through legislation. The government should also legislate defamation laws to protect the respect and dignity of individuals and groups.

Raja Yousaf Mehmood