Media Enjoys Freedom in Pakistan, Faces Suppression in India

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Chairs Briefing on Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) at Prime Minister Office in Islamabad on October 11, 2017
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Chairs Briefing on Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) at Prime Minister Office in Islamabad on October 11, 2017

In a sharp contrast to the plight of media in India, Pakistan is taking multiple steps to ensure press freedom in the country.

By Rakesh Raman

A former Indian minister and ruling party BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) leader Yashwant Sinha said Wednesday that his party has “lost the moral high ground” due to an alleged corruption scandal involving Jay Amit Shah, the son of BJP chief Amit Shah.

In an interview with a local TV channel NDTV, Sinha also said the defamation case that Jay Amit Shah has decided to file against news site The Wire (that reported about the case) is an attempt by the BJP to “suppress the voice of the media.”

Although the Indian media is largely under the control of the Indian government, the ruling BJP regime wants more restrictions on press freedom.

Earlier, M. Venkaiah Naidu – who was India’s Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting – had stressed the need for self-regulation and reasonable restrictions on media. This, he said, is required to maintain public order and ensure integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The Wire Report

The online news site The Wire had published a report on Sunday in which it had revealed numerous irregularities in the business of BJP leader Amit Shah’s son Jay Amitbhai Shah.

[ Read: How Amit Shah’s Son Got Meteoric Rise in Business. Corruption? ]

The opposition party Congress said Monday, “In a development that completely destroyed PM Narendra Modi’s ‘jumla‘ of “Naa Khaunga, naa Khane Doonga,The Wire report has revealed how Modi has allowed corruption to flourish under his nose.”

Subsequently, it was reported that Jay Shah has decided to file a Rs. 100-crore criminal defamation suit against The Wire and the author of the article.

Media in Pakistan

In a sharp contrast to the plight of media in India, Pakistan is taking multiple steps to ensure press freedom in the country.

[ Also Read: Trump Threatens to Cancel Licenses of News Networks ]

In this regard, a briefing on Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was held Wednesday at Prime Minister’s office with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Abbasi said that a strong, vibrant, and responsible media has a critical role to play towards overall development of society, strengthening of the institutions, ensuring good governance, and promoting basic values of the society.

Abbasi added that his government firmly believes in independence of media and would continue to provide an enabling environment for the media to flourish and play even greater role towards the nation building process.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: PM Office, Pakistan

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Rakesh Raman