Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Pervaiz Elahi has said he is ‘surprised’ over the PTI’s campaign against the media, warning Prime Minister Imran Khan that his advisors are damaging the relationship between the government and the press through ‘their misleading statements’.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had tasked the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly with mediating between the government and the media regarding controversial amendments made to the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) law.
On Sunday, Elahi affirmed his belief in the necessity of freedom of expression in a democracy. “I am surprised over the PTI’s campaign against the media,” he added.
Elahi took note of the reported withholding of advertisements for some newspapers and television channels by the government, questioning why the government had chosen to target these media houses. He opined that government advertisements were public money, and therefore should not be used to favour certain media houses over others.
Elahi also remarked that some PTI members had been reportedly prohibited by the party from appearing on selected TV channels, adding that he believed, “this will hurt PTI in a way that it won’t be able to present its balanced viewpoint to the public.”
The amendments to the PECA ordinance promulgated by President Arif Alvi last month have elicited vociferous criticism from civil society, media groups, and the legal fraternity. The latest in a series of complaints against the ordinance, four media bodies challenged the amendments in the Islamabad High Court.
Earlier this month, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry indicated that the government was ‘ready to withdraw‘ the controversial ordinance.