Several media bodies have demanded an apology from Prime Minister Imran Khan after he levelled accusations that media houses were being paid by the opposition and foreign sources during a rally in Malakand.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) issued a statement urging the premier to apologise for ‘levelling allegations against media and journalists, adding that “It is surprising that the head of the government, under whom all the agencies are working instead ordering a probe is using a public forum for spreading unfounded allegations against media.”
Instead of spreading ‘fake news’, the PFUJ called on the premier to order a probe from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or a high-level judicial commission to investigate the matter.
Similarly, the Joint Action Committee of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) also issued a statement condemning the ‘scandalous allegations’ from the prime minister.
“Media and journalists are performing their professional responsibilities guaranteed by the constitution. We request Imran Khan not to make such statements for political point scoring,” said the statement.
During a rally on Sunday in KP, PM Imran had said “Unfortunately, a lot of media houses work solely for money, and some even accept foreign funding. I leave it to the public to find out which media houses are standing with the thieves.”
“The nation is observing the media and it can see which media house is working in favour of Pakistan and which one is a sell-out,” the prime minister added.
The PTI has made the dissemination of fake news one of their main rallying cries, often claiming that foreign forces are attempting to infiltrate Pakistani media with misinformation. Earlier this year, President Arif Alvi promulgated amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), ostensibly in an attempt to stop the sharing of fake news on social media.