IT is indeed disturbing to find the PPP government issuing an ordinance putting new curbs on the print media organizations by framing new rules that make it mandatory for them to obtain registration certificates every three years. Given the mushroom growth of dummy publications, the decision to tighten the procedure for issuing new declaration is not bad. But then empowering the Press Registrar to issue renewal certificates only after making assessment of regularity, standard and quality of the publication, will be tantamount to restricting the freedom of Press. Not just that, the Press Registration Rules 2009 will grant indemnity to the Press Registrar or any officer authorized by him from being liable, for having done anything in good faith. This reflects badly on a political party that did not tire of championing the cause of a free press while in the opposition and which promised to do away with the restrictions imposed by the military regime. General Musharraf could not escape the blame for imposing sweeping curbs on the media after suspending the Constitution and issuing the declaration of Emergency on 3 November 2007. It was very much in line with a peculiar mindset where the military rulers did everything possible to muzzle the free press. This dates back to the Ayub era, when the government imposed strict censorship on the media by promulgating the much-maligned Press and Publications Ordinance. Then it was Zia's pre-censorship which put paid to freedom of Press. The fact remains that the national media had to struggle really hard to regain its freedom; it wasn't offered it on a platter. The Information Ministry was always used as a coercive arm of the government to tame it, but there was no dearth of independent newspapers, which continued to defy press advice even at the cost of their revenue. This group suffered the longest ever suspension of official ads during the Musharraf government, but no amount of victimization deterred it from maintaining an independent stance. The PPP leadership must keep in mind that the national media has not only raised a voice against those nursing Bonapartist tendencies, but also played a vital role in the restoration of democracy. Instead of getting impatient with fair media criticism, the government should take it as an opportunity to rectify the flaws in its policies. The press, being fully aware of its responsibility towards the national interest, need not be given sermons or tamed through draconian laws like the one just notified.