Monday October 18, 2021

Sindh Assembly passes resolution against PMDA

September 18, 2021
Sindh Assembly passes resolution against PMDA

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday passed through majority vote a resolution against the move to establish the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and closure of the National Assembly’s press gallery.

The resolution was moved in the house by Sindh Information and Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, who said that the federal government was hatching conspiracies to harm the national institutions, including the judiciary, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), media and parliament. He said that independent minded judges of the apex judiciary were also being targeted.

Talking about the media curbs, he said, “There is a long list of journalists, who are either being kidnapped, tortured, or fired from service for criticising the government and uncovering the conspiracies against democracy.” Ghani said a number of journalists were rendered jobless as their employers were threatened to fire them or face closure of their media organisations. He said several renowned anchorpersons are not appearing on the television screens on this account.

He said the federal government had attempted to unduly convene a joint sitting of the parliament to get controversial laws passed. He said it was unprecedented that the press gallery of the National Assembly was closed, which had never happened even during the dictatorial regimes. He said the incident happened on the day when the President had to address the joint session of the parliament. “Unfortunately, the speaker claimed that closure of the press gallery had taken place at the behest of journalists, who rejected the Speaker’s claim,” he said.

The provincial minister said the actual aim of setting up the PMDA was to establish a “Media destruction” authority. The Sindh information minister said that the print media industry was a part of the provincial domain after the 18th Amendment and the federal government does not have the constitutional power to establish regulatory and control authority to manage the media. Saeed Ghani said that almost all the political parties, including the PTI’s coalition partners, are protesting against the proposed PMDA.

He said the federal government has set into motion a conspiracy to rig the upcoming 2023 elections and to pave way for that, a new front had been launched against the ECP to stifle its voice. Ghani said the political parties were the major stakeholders in the democratic dispensation in the country as the activists of the Pakistan People’s Party and other parties had rendered sacrifices. “They should keep in mind that this is not the regime of General Musharraf, General Zia, or General Yahya Khan as the political parties and their activists would not remain silent,” Saeed Ghani said while addressing the federal government. “We are not just confined to merely condemning the move but will practically resist it as well,” he said.

While defending the federal government, the leader of opposition in the house, Haleem Adil Shaikh, who belongs to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said the government had never taken any action to restrict the free media.

The journalists covering the proceedings of the Sindh Assembly protested against the closure of the NA press gallery. They raised slogans to show solidarity with their counterparts in NA, raised slogans against the anti-press policies of the federal government and plan to establish PMDA.