New Govt Disbands Controversial Media Authority, Digital Media Wing
The new government is attempting to organize its ruling stage in order to ensure that it runs well. The Digital Media Wing (DMW), which was founded by the PTI, has been shut down by the current government. The Digital Media Wing’s mission was to disseminate official information across all social media channels.
The Pakistan Human Rights Commission applauds this judgement (HRCP). The HRCP has been opposing the DMW because, according to them, the DMW solely pursued the PTI’s goal against its political opponents, and they also exploited state resources to advance the party’s objective, including media trolling.
Mariyum Aurangzeb, the recently appointed Minister of Information and Broadcasting, stated that the DMW, which was founded by the PTI, has PTI workers who attacked the opposition and national institutions. Furthermore, the minister stated that the DMW was unnecessary because the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting already had a cyber wing.
Social media rights activists praised the ruling because it will strengthen checks on governmental institutions’ usage of digital media platforms. The ministry’s cyber wing will be bolstered even more as a result of this move. Even if the government changes, the institution will survive. Nighat Dad, the executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation, adding that the bureaucracy will not score political points.
Nighat Dad went on to say that the cyber wing needs to be modernised, innovative, and keep up with changing trends in order to retain a positive image of Pakistan overseas, as well as stay up with offices like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The information ministry has now established a cyber branch, which will disseminate government achievements and publicise government plans on social media platforms.
Imran Ghazali, the former general manager of DMW, resigned shortly after Shahbaz Sharif was elected prime minister. DMW is also planning to lay off 16 other staff whose contracts were set to end in August.
The executive director of Media Matter for Democracy, Asad Baig has criticized the decision and said that DMW was an entity of the state and should have continued to operate like any other functionary entity. He has said that it would have been better if reforms and improvements were bought in the DMW rather than shutting it down. There is a dire need to have digitally literate set-up at the official level. He further added that outward communication of the country is limited and via the digital media it could have been improved. Pakistan has a small media and it is dominated by the Urdu medium and very few outlets in English.
The Media Matter for Democracy executive director has further added that shutting down of any institution is never a good option. This mistake will be realized by the government later.