New York, Apr 12: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent group that safeguards press freedom worldwide, today welcomed the new Pakistani government's move to lift restrictions on media imposed by President Pervez Musharraf last year. A statement issued by the CPJ here, lauded the parliamentary bill introduced by Pakistan Information Minister Sherry Rehman that would repeal amendments made to the media laws last November.
The minister also promised a compensation fund for families of journalists killed or injured on duty, and the establishment of a consultative media body comprised of mediapersons and government officials.
''We applaud the bill and hope to see it passed swiftly into law,'' CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said, urging the Pakistani government to sustain its efforts to improve conditions for the media.
President Musharraf had amended the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Ordinance on November 3, 2007 and banned on the live coverage of violence and many call-in political talk shows. Print journalists were also threatened with punishments for comments deemed defamatory of the government or military, including fines and jail terms.
The country's largest independent broadcaster GEO TV was only allowed to resume domestic cable broadcasts on January 22. Police also attempted to close printing presses and censor critical articles.