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Media under attack in Pakistan and China: What you need to know

Picture Courtesy: LA Times, South China Morning Post, Safe Newsrooms, Fair Observer

Both the Government of Pakistan and China are engaged in muzzling the independence of media.

The Government of Pakistan wants to bring a Media Development Authority Ordinance 2021, under which a law is also proposed, along with many laws, in which the media will be banned from sarcasm or harassing the army or government.

- An authority will be constituted to make rules for all types of media, it will have a total of 11 members and a chairperson who will be approved by the President on the advice of the central government.

- All media-related laws will be merged in PMDA laws.

- There is also a proposal to set up a media tribunal, headed by a Grade 22 level bureaucrat, the highest of Pak Civil service for the media-related matter.

- A fine of 25 million Pak Rupees and imprisonment of up to 3 years is also proposed on media institutions through the tribunal for violation.

- In the draft it is proposed to make license mandatory for the operations of digital media like TV channels, the same rules will be made regarding Netflix, Amazon prime, youtube, and video logs.

This bill is being opposed by opposition parties.

On the other side, China has sent a blogger to jail for 8 months for exposing the truth of the clash between India and Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley. Blogger Qiu Ziming has said that 40 Chinese soldiers were killed in the skirmish in Galwan valley in June 2020 but China did not accept this while India and Russia supported this figure. China said that only 4 soldiers were killed.

-He has been sentenced to 8 months in jail. The Chinese government has blamed him for defaming Chinese martyrs.

- He is the first person to be punished under the security law passed in March.

Court also asked Zimming to tender a public apology on major platforms and media within 10 days.

Along with the Belarus incident, this development of these two countries also points out the kind of efforts the governments around the world are making to suppress the media.

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