April 29, 2021
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the advice of electronic media regulator PEMRA, threatening media outlets with legal action over what the authority called fake, unauthentic, and speculative news.
Union President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi questioned the rationale of issuing such advice. The two leaders said it reminded one of the dictatorial regimes that used every coercive state tool to stifle the freedom of expression.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan claims that his government believes in strong democratic traditions but such use of executive authority flies in the face of Khan's claim. The prime minister should realize that such advice does not create a positive image of the government.”
Zulfiqar and Nasir opined that there are forums where the matter of fake and authentic news could be raised. “Media persons always try to get the version of government officials but in some cases, they are reluctant to confirm or deny certain news. Once the news has been published or aired then they come up with rebuttals and issue a condemnation. If the news item was not correct then the government should have given its opinion, either denying or confirming the news. There is no rationale for criticizing journalists if they have approached the government officials for comments.”
The leaders of the journalists' fraternity demanded of the government to withdraw the advice, declaring it against the articles of the constitution that guarantee freedom of expression.
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