Minister Clarifies Govt’s Social Media Approach & Defamation Bill

In recent days, a debate has been going on in the country regarding the new defamation bill, which critics believe curbs media freedom. In response to criticism, the Federal Minister of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal while talking to media outlets said that the government doesn’t want to suffocate the media or restrict it.

Moreover, he added that while social media has numerous benefits, it also carries risks, notably in spreading misinformation that can lead to instability. Therefore, the government seeks to mitigate these risks and ensure that social media platforms are used responsibly.

He also pointed out that consultation with stakeholders in formulating social media laws hold importance. He emphasized that such kind of laws must be in the interest of all to protect the country from the risks related to misinformation.

On the other hand, the journalists have rejected the defamation law, labeling it an attack against freedom of the press. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also held protests outside press clubs in different cities with black flags.

“The sole purpose of this bill is to strike fear in anyone who may be contemplating criticizing or expressing their frustrations with those in power,” the PFUJ said.

In addition, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also showed concern, saying that the bill is problematic on several counts.

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