Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed its serious concern over the FIA’s decision of challenging the nullification of clause 20 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) 2016 by the Islamabad High court last month.
A joint statement issued by PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi called upon the federal government to direct the FIA to immediately withdraw its petition.
The two PFUJ leaders reminded the PML-N of its promise of upholding freedom of expression.
“The Islamabad High Court had nullified clause 20 of PECA because it was contrary to the freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution,” the Statement said. “The Government must respect the IHC verdict and direct the FIA to withdraw its petition.”.
The two PFUJ leaders also reminded the government of the promise held out by Federal Informarion Minister Marryum Aurangzeb to the Joint Action Committee to revisit the PECA Act in consultation with the stake-holders.
PFUJ leaders said that FIA had been violating and misusing this law against media and journalists during previous regime by sending them notices, raiding their residences and abducting media persons. “How can a agency working under the federal government can challenge this law without the consent of PMLN leadership?” The PFUJ questioned.
They demanded of the Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to intervene and direct FIA to withdraw its petition. They also called upon the Infirmation Minister to convene meeting of Joint Action Committee for the purpose of reviewing PECA Act 2016..
The PFUJ said it was against fake news as well as yellow journalism but that isn’t an excuse for curbing the freedom of expression.
“Amendments can be made in the law to achieve this objective without compromising the freedom of expression.
The PFUJ leaders also expressed their resentment and anger over unwanted and derogatory remarks made in the petition.
They expressed their resolve to fight such a mentality aimed at suppressing media and independent voices.