KARACHI - Sindh Information and Labour Minister, Saeed Ghani, has said the ordinance promulgated to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA)-2016 is an undemocratic act and tantamount to trampling upon the fundamental constitutional rights of the citizens.

Talking to media after a book launching ceremony here at the Press Club, the Sindh Information Minister said the PECA amendment ordinance was aimed at stifling the voice of media in the country.

Ghani said the PECA ordinance reflected the extremist and autocratic mindset of the rulers. He said that such acts had not even been seen during the past dictatorial regimes in the country. He said the ordinance had been promulgated to suppress the voice of those who believed in freedom of expression in the country. He said they would never accept any restriction on the media and freedom of expression in the garb of taking action against false news.

He said the constitution empowered every citizen to form and express his opinion regarding the working of the government. He said the process of reforms stopped in a society where people didn’t have the power to criticise the performance of the rulers.  Ghani advised the government to refrain from suppressing the voice of the press and free expression in the country and immediately withdraw the PECA ordinance. He said that everyone was against the issue of fake news but first of all a consensus definition of fake news needed to be adopted.

The information minister thought that the latest ordinance reflected the personal mindset of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said the ruling party could promulgate such ordinances as it didn’t have any truthful basis.

He said the PM out of depression had been taking such anti-democratic measures.

He said the concerned journalists’ fraternity and civil society were required to wage a practical struggle against the latest ordinance as the option was also open to moving the court on this issue. Ghani said that the recent martyrdom of journalist Ather Mateen was a tragic incident as efforts were on by the Sindh government to catch the culprits at the earliest.

He recalled that Sindh Chief Minister earlier in the day went to the residence of Ather Mateen for condolence and also said that the killers of the late journalists would soon be arrested while a network of criminals would also be detected in the regard.