Govt. not introducing any press laws: PCP clarified

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 10 (APP): A Spokesperson of the Press Council
of Pakistan (PCP) Sunday termed news items appeared in a section of
print media regarding promulgation of press laws as incorrect.
“It is clarified that the contents of the news story are
incorrect and have created an impression that a democratic order in
the country is going to be impacted as the Press Council of Pakistan
(PCP), a print media regulator is framing a set of laws not
consistent with the spirit of Article-19 of the Constitution, 1973
that guarantees right to speech,” he said in a press release.
The reports had claimed that the Council and Government were
going to introduce repressive press laws in the country.
The spokesperson said the contents of the news story along
with the points of reference raised therein were factually incorrect
and misleading.
It is reiterated that the Constitution unequivocally
guarantees that every citizen would have the right to freedom of
speech and expression, and there would be freedom of the press,
subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the
interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence
of the country or any part thereof, which includes friendly
relations with states.
It is against this constitutional provision that no law
inconsistent with the Article 19 of the Constitution could be
framed.
Even after introduction of 18th Amendment in the Constitution,
the subject of newspapers has been devolved to the provinces,
leaving no empowerment for the federal government to legislate
without supportive resolution from the provinces in line with
relevant Articles of the Constitution, the press release maintained.
It is further clarified that the existing Press Council of
Pakistan Ordinance – 2002 is in place which has in its schedule laid
down a detailed Ethical Code of Practice for Print Media to follow
that provides adequate framework of print media freedom and
responsibilities alike.
“The government fully believes in the freedom of press and is
doing its best to ensure that every citizen and media person
legitimately exercises one’s Right to Information. Going by this
principle as enshrined in the Article – 19 A of the Constitution,
Senate has passed on August 22, 2017, Right of Access to Information
Bill – 2017 which shortly is to be laid before National Assembly in
order to make it a permanent part of freedom related laws in
Pakistan.”
It is reemphasized that no law over the subject mentioned in
print media reports has ever been framed.
It may relevantly be added that the legislation process
whenever undertaken by the federal government is initiated in
consultation with the stakeholders.
“The question of curbing media freedom therefore does not
arise,” the spokesman emphasized.