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Pakistan Speaker orders locking press gallery during President's address over walkout call by Journalists against controversial laws

ANI | Updated: Sep 14, 2021 11:43 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan] September 14 (ANI): Amid the ongoing protests against proposed controversial media laws in Pakistan, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Monday ordered locking of the press gallery in the wake of the call given by the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) to stage a walkout from the press gallery during the President Arif Alvi's address to a joint session of parliament.
The action of the Speaker came after the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) announced to stage a walkout from the press gallery during the president's address and join their colleagues who had been protesting outside the Parliament House since Sunday on the call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) against the government's plan to set up the controversial Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), the Dawn reported.
Meanwhile, hundreds of journalists in Pakistan have gathered outside the Parliament House on Sunday to protest against the proposed 'Pakistan Media Development Authority' (PMDA) law.
Protestors first staged a sit-in at the main entrance of the Parliament House and then shifted in front of the Speaker's Office.
The call for the sit-in was given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and a number of scribe groups, opposition parties, lawyers and the representatives of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan participated in it, Express Tribune reported.
The journalists affiliated with different news organisations and press associations have termed the law against article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression to the people.
They also informed that "the proposed legislation would not only deprive journalists and media organizations of the press freedom but would also deprive civil society, students, lawyers, teachers, law-makers, trade unions, political, religious activists and in fact 220 million population of the country of their basic rights," The News International reported.
Despite being a democratic state, Pakistan scored 30 points out of 100 on the assessment report index, which analysts say proves the fact that the government has placed curbs on free speech and disallowed people to talk especially about the pandemic and the related information. (ANI)