JAC, minister agree on legislation to eliminate fake news

Our Correspondent
Sunday, Apr 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Saturday said the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of journalists agreed on legislation to eliminate fake news and, for the purpose, a clause would be inserted in the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) law after consultation.

The consensus was reached during a meeting between the minister and the JAC. The delegation congratulated Marriyum Aurangzeb on assuming the office of information minister. It was noted that legislation would help end the possibility of harm to the national security and national interests.

The minister told the delegation that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would not compromise on protection of freedom of expression and that he wanted promotion of constitutional and civil rights to the freedom of expression. "The death of journalism is the death of politics and democracy. Only democracy and the product of Constitution know the importance and value of freedom of expression," Marriyum contended.

Referring to the PTI era, she said four years brought doom for politics, journalism and people, as attempts were made to snatch the freedom of the nation by closing channels, columns, programmes, language and eyes.

The minister pointed out that an attempt was made to enslave 220 million people through the black laws of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA) ordinance and Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA). "We will move forward in consultation with the journalist community and freedom of media will be promoted in the light of your views,” she assured the community.

Marriyum noted that in the past four years, like the country's economy, the media was financially destroyed, adding journalists were aware of the economic catastrophe; they want to repair the damage done to them as soon as possible.

She regretted that journalists had lost their jobs, many had lost their lives, their salaries had been halved, they were aware of the plight of their families and children. The government, she said, was trying to revive the economy from catastrophe as the past government conspired to bankrupt the country. “We strongly condemn serious allegations against journalists in foreign conspiracy. We support the PFUJ demand and the liars will be held accountable. Whoever speaks the truth, exposes corruption, Imran makes him a traitor,” she lamented.

The minister emphasised that no space should be given to those who indulge in mud-slinging on institutions, judiciary and media in the name of foreign conspiracy. She urged the media to play its role in curbing false and riotous rhetoric. “Free, impartial media is the refuge of politicians; we will strengthen it,” she contended.

The delegation welcomed the government move to repeal the black laws of the past regime, immediately after assuming power. “As soon as you became minister, you abolished the black laws of PMDA, thank you,” the delegation paid tribute to the minister. The delegation hoped that the government would maintain the democratic mood, and strengthen the freedom emanating from the Constitution.