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Info minister meets ‘fake journalist body’ to get endorsement for controversial media authority

Fawad Chaudhry holds a meeting with what has been claimed to be the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry reportedly held a meeting with a fake body which was portrayed as the actual Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists to get endorsement for the controversial Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA).

Journalist Syed Talat Hussain in his vlog on Youtube stated that the information minister had held a meeting with a fake body to discuss the issue of the establishment of PMDA. Hussain claimed that news of the meeting was run on the state news channel and posted from official Twitter account of the information minister.

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The journalist made a startling revelation that this was done to get endorsement for the bill to establish PMDA, which has received widespread opposition from media owners and workers alike.

Among the controversial aspects of the bill, the PMDA would have the power to impose a fine of up to Rs250 million on electronic media outlets for violations.

Hussain in his vlog, citing representatives of PFUJ, stated that Chaudhry was aware of the fact that this was a fake PFUJ instead of the original body, and none of the attendees were the elected members of the actual body.

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The journalist was also of the view that one can gauge the scale of propaganda from the fact that the government is establishing PMDA for countering propaganda, but to do so it was seeking recourse to a fake body for acceptance.

In June 2021, media bodies and unions including PFUJ had rejected the proposed PMDA Ordinance 2021, arguing that it was unconstitutional and an attempt to muzzle the already stifled media in the country.

As news of the incident picked up on social media, condemnations started pouring in. Renowned journalist and former director general Radio Pakistan Murtaza Solangi slammed the government for this action and stated, “PTI fake government not only generates fake news but creates fake organizations and fake events.” Solangi concluded his tweet with the hashtag ‘Fakestan’.

Moreover, journalist Waleed Tariq quoted the PFUJ as saying that it was ‘astonishing’ that federal ministers were seeking the support of ‘fake’ and ‘drawing room’ bodies consisting of unelected representatives.

One commentator on social media termed the incident as ‘insane’ and said that the information ministry made up a fake body, held a fake meeting and circulated fake information.

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