Karachi: The Sindh Assembly has rejected the proposed move by the federal government to establish a single central authority to control and manage all forms of mass media in Pakistan.
The house adopted through a majority vote the resolution against the proposed establishment of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA).
Sindh Information and Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, presented the resolution in the house against the setting up of the PMDA. The Opposition legislators in the house belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) opposed the resolution.
The resolution stated that the PMDA is against freedom of expression and press freedom as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
“Once the PMDA is established, it will be a step towards hindering the media freedoms and taking control of the press by the federal government. The bill is an attempt to control the digital and print media by a single entity i.e. PMDA irrespective of the fact that the two are separate entities in every respect,” the resolution said.
It demanded the federal government withdraw the proposed bill so that the independence of media and press can be sustained.
Leader of Opposition in the house, Haleem Adil Shaikh, who belongs to the PTI, said the federal government would never take any move that would restrict constitutionally guaranteed freedom of media in the country.
Speaking on his resolution, the Sindh Information Minister said the proposed establishment of the PMDA was also against the spirit of the 18th Constitutional Amendment as the print media comes under the domain of the provincial governments.
He said the federal government lacked the authority to establish a single unified control agency for print, electronic, and digital media in the country.
He said all representative bodies of media owners and workers in the country had started an agitation against the move of setting up the PMDA while viewing it as an attempt to usurp freedom of press.