ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that legislation would be made in Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) laws to eliminate fake news.
The decision was reached during a meeting between the information minister and the Media Joint Action Committee. The forum reached a consensus that fake news damages national security interests and societal cohesion.
“Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will not compromise on the protection of freedom of expression,” Minister Aurangzeb said. “The prime minister wants to promote this constitutional and civil right. Death of journalism is the death of politics and democracy.”
“For four years, the people, politics and journalism has been derailed,” she said. The minister said during this time, attempts were made to snatch the ‘freedom of the nation’.
Aurangzeb added that ‘black laws’ such as the PECA Ordinance and Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) conspired to enslave 220 million people.
“The media was financially destroyed in four years like the country’s economy,” Aurangzeb lamented. “Journalists are aware of the economic catastrophe. They want to repair the damage done to them as soon as possible.”
She added that journalists had lost their jobs and many also lost their lives and that the government was aware of the plight of their families.
“The government is trying to recover the country’s economy as the former government conspired to bankrupt the country,” she said.
Aurangzeb further condemned allegations made by former prime minister Imran Khan against journalists in the ‘foreign conspiracy’ scandal.
“Whoever speaks the truth, Imran refers to him as a traitor,” she said. “No media space should be given to those who throw mud on the institutions, the judiciary and the media in the name of a foreign conspiracy.”
She also added that the media should also play its role in curbing false rhetoric. A free and impartial media is the refuge of politicians and we will strengthen it, she assured.
The media delegation welcomed the move of repealing the PECA Ordinance and disbanding PMDA. It also congratulated Aurangzeb on assuming charge as the new information minister.
“It is hoped that the new government will maintain the democratic mood and will strengthen the freedom emanating from the constitution,” the delegation commented.