PR LAHORE - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has categorically assured the APNS that the government is not contemplating any change in the present legal structure of print media.

During a meeting with APNS secretary general Umer Mujib Shami on Monday morning, the prime minister, however, said any law or amendment, if needed, will be undertaken in consultation with the APNS, CPNE, PFUJ and other stakeholders. He reiterated the resolve of his government to protect and ensure the freedom of press as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The prime minister was apprised of the profound concern of APNS on the proposed draft of Pakistan Print Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance (PPMRA). The APNS stated that the proposed law reported in a section of press appears a draconian and repressive law which may badly affect the freedom of expression in the country attained by the media after prolonged and protracted struggle. He stated that the Ministry of Information had dug out the notorious law promulgated by dictator, General Ayub Khan from the dustbin of the history, namely Press and Publications Ordinance 1964. The PPO was replaced by the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2002 on the strong protest and struggle of media and the democratic forces. The APNS secretary general informed the prime minister that the proposed law contravened the provisions of 18th Amendment and will completely be rejected by the APNS and other media organizations. He requested that the proposed law be withdrawn immediately.

The prime minister assured the APNS that no law inconsistent with Article 19 of the Constitution will be framed by the government and if any law to improve the status of print media will be required, the government will ensure meaningful consultation with the stakeholders before promulgating such law. The secretary general thanked the prime minister for clarification to address the concerns in the media.