HRCP questions Pemra ‘double standards’ for Nawaz, Musharaf
October 3, 2020 01:20 AM
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday took serious exception to the ban by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on the broadcast of interviews and public addresses by ex-premier on television.
The commission stated that the action ‘violates not only citizens’ right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Constitution, but also impinges on people’s right to know’.
It continues: “Such orders are a reflection of arbitrary censorship, with the very same people who advocate it when it favours them and abandon it when it does not.
“The order was passed closely on the heels of a speech by political opposition leader Nawaz Sharif in which he had questioned "the legitimacy of the 2018 elections.
“This shows Pemra is little more than a tool of political convenience as opposed to being an objective, independent regulatory body.
“It is worth recalling that Pemra did not deny airtime to former president Pervez Musharraf, who is also a proclaimed offender.”
The human rights body said it has consistently pointed to the growing censorship in Pakistan, even as the government claims that the press has never been freer.
"We demand that this order be withdrawn immediately and that the government refrain from weaponizing censorship in this blatant manner," the HRCP said.