PFUJ rejects new rules to block online content

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has rejected the ‘Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Protection, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020’ which have been notified secretly and implemented through extraordinary gazette notification, terming these as ‘black regulations’, says a press release.

Criticizing the new regulations, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said that PTI Government is bent upon reducing freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution. “Journalists would resist such draconian regulations and similar other laws being introduced through ordinances and by passing the Parliament. The new regulations are designed to further curtail freedom of Press and speech in the country.”

PFUJ leadership said that the new rules will enhance state surveillance over the citizens’ rights of privacy and undermine their constitutional right to freely raise their voices over the issues confronted by them.

The joint statement by the PFUJ President and Secretary General said that the new set of draconian regulation even criminalize fair criticism of government officials and state policies and have left interpretation of the constitution in the hands of bureaucrats including officials of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). “Interpretation of law is the sole authority of the judiciary but the draconian new regulations have taken away that right from the judiciary and this is totally against the spirit of the Constitution,” the statement said.

The PFUJ leaders urged the civil society and stakeholders to take a united stand for countering such regulations and laws that are aimed at suppressing people’s voices even on social media.

Source: The News


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