Siraj asks govt to reverse amendments in PECA, avoid putting curbs on freedom of media
Emir Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Sirajul Haq reiterating concerns over the amendments in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) has termed it an attack on freedom of expression.
While talking to delegation of media Joint Action Committee (JAC) which called on him at Mansoorah on Tuesday, he said that the government made an attempt to stifle civil liberties in the country.
Sirajul Haq asked the government to reverse the draconian amendments and avoid putting curb on media freedom.
The delegation comprising members of the All-Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), and the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AMEND) briefed the JI chief about the ordinance, saying the laws allowed the government to tamper with freedom of speech, muzzle the journalists’ right
to report, and financially cripple the media to influence journalism.
“The JI condemns the law. We stand with you [media],” he said, expressing regret over the rulers’ attempts over years to control media.
The JI chief said the PECA ordinance was introduced on holiday, bypassing the senate and national assembly. “A democratic process of lawmaking requires open and transparent consultation with stakeholders but the PTI has
been ignoring the need since the day it came into power in 2018.”
The process, he said, through which the recent amendments were introduced was itself questionable.
Siraj said PECA allowed rulers to move courts against citizens who they believe to be posting fake news. The definition of fake news, he said, was not available in the law and it also failed to elaborate how to pinpoint the
content as false. The offense, he said, was non-bailable, and the accused will have to spend time in prison until the trial ends within six months.
Pakistan, he said, was turned unsafe for media persons, adding the journalists were being killed and harassed and victimized. He highlighted the need for unity among the journalist community.