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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan restricts access to information

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 14 ,IRNA -- Pakistan has barred government officials from sharing information with the media, a move criticized and described as an attempt to muzzle independent press by journalist community.

The federal government issued a notification and sent to all government departments in the center and provinces for implementation.

According to the notification, strict disciplinary action may be taken against government officials leaking information to the press and electronic media.

The notification said: “The undersigned is directed that frequent instances come to the notice of the government where official information and documents are communicated to the press/media and leakage of such information places the government in an embarrassing position. The government servants are prohibited and any infringement of these rules will be liable for action under”.

Local media reported that the government has made the decision after reports appeared in the press about corrupt practices in the government department.

Representatives of media bodies have criticized the government’s move and said it will harm freedom of expression. They recalled that the parliament has passed access to information act and the government’s decision is contrary to the law.

There was no word from the Information Ministry to the decision.

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