Friday September 24, 2021

If govt is not behind PMDA, it should take its notice: PFUJ

If govt is not behind PMDA, it should take its notice: PFUJ

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Shahzada Zulfiqar has demanded the government take notice if it was not behind the idea of Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA).

He was addressing a press conference, along with PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, National Press Club President Shakeel Anjum, Joint Action Committee Chairman Afzal Butt, RIUJ President Aamir Sajjad Sayed and Secretary General Tariq Virk here at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

He rejected the proposed PMDA and vowed that the struggle against the anti-media body would continue. “A three-day meeting of the PFUJ is being held in Lahore from Wednesday [today], which will take important decisions regarding the movement against the proposed PMDA and the media restriction in the country,” he said.

He said the successful sit-in of Monday was the result of the selfless work and dedication of the leadership and workers of the PFUJ and the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ).

He said the government-funded people's camp also saw how many people were at the sit-in where journalists from across the country were present, and they showed the government that the journalist community stood united against the proposed PMDA.

He said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry believed that the PTV, APP and salaried YouTubers would drive the media across the country, but the sit-in of the journalists outside the Parliament House rejected the PMDA outright.

He said the Urdu translation of the bill had been completed and it would now be shared with the Labour organisations and civil society to tell them that the real motive of the government behind the proposed bill was to suppress the voice for the freedom of media. “We will end the impression which was being given by the government that the bill is in favour of workers of the media,” he added.

He said the PFUJ would continue its struggle against the PMDA, and more difficult stages would come in the way of the movement. He asked journalists to get prepared for even arrests and dismissals from service.

In a reply to a question, he said “we don't think any of the owners' organisations will reach compromise with the government. It may be the government's wish, but to this day, everyone is on the same page.

“Even if someone compromises, we are not bound by it," he added. The PFUJ president said the PMDA was not just a matter of journalists, it was a matter of the nation, country and democracy. “We are fighting for society, In-sha-Allah we will be successful,” he added.

PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said the Federal Union of Journalists had rejected the PMDA, and it would not allow imposition of a media martial law through the black law. He said the PFUJ would not accept it under any circumstances and it would continue the struggle for freedom of the press.

He said it was for the first time that all political parties and stakeholders were standing united with the PFUJ against the proposed PMDA, and the Union would not let anyone to damage that unity.

Joint Action Committee Chairman Afzal Butt said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had enraged all journalists of the country and united them.” The international community became aware of the media situation in Pakistan,” he added.

He said Fawad conspired against the prime minister and the National Assembly (NA) speaker; first issued cards to fake journalists and then got the press gallery locked. He said Fawad Ch wanted the anger of the sit-in to be diverted towards the PM and the NA speaker, instead of him.

Butt said he wanted to tell PM Imran Khan that Fawad Chaudhry wanted the whole movement to be diverted towards him. He said the PM should tell who was responsible for what happened in the press gallery on Monday. “The press gallery was locked for the first time in the Parliamentary history and Fawad Chaudhry expressed his ignorance about it before the TV channel cameras,” he said.