The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND), in its annual session, completely reject the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), declaring it to be against freedom of expression and basic human rights.
According to a statement issued by the association, AEMEND considers that the purpose of this ordinance is to “curb the freedom of media and people in violation of the basic spirit of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
The association demanded the government to immediately and unconditionally withdraw this “illegal, unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-media” PECA Ordinance.
The annual session reaffirms its resolve to not only “resist every black law”, including PECA Ordinance, that’s against freedom of expression but to also stand with other media organisations, bar councils, human rights and civil rights organisations in this collective struggle.
“AEMEND expresses serious concern about the overall situation of freedom of expression in the country and understands that while it is not the responsibility of a single entity to address the problems faced by journalists in Pakistan like threats, persecution, pressures, propaganda, harassment of female journalists in particular and social media trolling, it is after all the responsibility of the government to ensure a free and safe environment for journalists to perform their duties without any pressure,” the statement read.
The association urged all media houses to take steps for the professional training and capacity-building of journalists by conducting special courses, assuring full cooperation in these initiatives.
AEMEND also demands that working, professional journalists are appointed as editors, directors and heads of news.
“This is not only beneficial for organisations and viewers but will also ensure checks and balances, implementation of the code of conduct and adherence to journalistic values,” it said.