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US State Department reacts to PEMRA Amendment Bill

WASHINGTON: The US Department of State’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, responded to Pakistan’s PEMRA Amendment Bill by expressing worry about press freedom in Pakistan and around the world.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Vedant Patel stated that the US has long expressed concerns about press freedom in Pakistan and around the world. He went on to say that independent media and an informed public are essential for any country and its democratic future.

According to Patel, the United States has taken a firm stand on press freedom. He went on to say that we used to communicate our concerns about press freedom to stakeholders and high-level officials in Pakistan.

It is worth noting that on Friday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023 was introduced in the National Assembly.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, said fresh revisions to the bill have been introduced to improve the reliability of news material and to combat deception and misinformation.

The spokeswoman for the US State Department declined to comment on the recent meeting between Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir and US Central Command (Centcom) Chief General Michael Erik Kurilla.

Vedant Patel requested that the journalist obtain information on the meeting from the US Central Command.

Patel commented on a phone call between Tony Blinken and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, saying that the US State Secretary discussed beneficial bilateral cooperation with his Pakistani counterpart.

He added that the US would continue to engage with Pakistan through trade and business links. Tony Blinken also hailed the acceptance of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Pakistan’s financial assistance.

According to the spokeswoman, Blinken also urged continued changes to enhance economic recovery and prosperity. The US State Secretary also discussed the US and Pakistan’s shared objectives in Ukraine and a stable Afghanistan.

Vedant Patel stated that no US official is visiting Afghanistan.

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