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PFUJ organizes seminar to ponder laws curbing freedom of speech

March 2, 2020 11:35 PM


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The PFUJ in collaboration with Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights (PCHR) and National Parliamentary Taskforce on sustainable development goals, has organized a seminar on Wednesday, March 4, at Conference Hall of Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) F-5 in Islamabad.

The seminar aims at devising strategy for pressing the government to repeal laws like Pakistan Electronic Crimes Prevention Act (PECA) 2016, which, in fact, are being used to muzzle freedom of expression guaranteed under article 19.

Senior Parliamentarians, media persons, civil society representatives, human rights activists and lawyers have been invited to participate in it.

In a statement issued on Monday, PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said that freedom of expression is vital to promote free flow of information and help citizens access to information and improve accountability and governance in the country. In fact freedom of expression is corner stone for all other fundamental freedoms and basic rights. Being representative of Journalists, Pakistan Federal Union of journalists (PFUJ) considers its responsibility to become voice of society and advocate for freedom of speech and expression.

He pointed out that the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Prevention Act (PECA), introduced in 2016 to curb cyber-crimes, is unfortunately being used to curb the constitutional right of freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution. In a new move, the government has recently introduced a new set of regulations apparently to regulate social media. Unfortunately, like previous act and rules, these new rules are more detrimental to freedom of speech and expression as compared to other regulations as these will effectively empower government to suppress each and every voice of dissent and disagreement.

On PFUJ and civil society protest, though the government has announced review of these regulations, the laws have not been formally withdrawn. The PFUJ thinks for meaningful review and consultation, these should be withdrawn immediately. Moreover, this review process should also cover controversial clauses of PECA Act, which is allegedly being used to control voices of dissent. Unfortunately PECA is frequently used against journalists as well and many senior journalists have been subject to harassment under this law.



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