Gagging, restricting, controlling media has always been a dream of every government and regime, through tacit or legal way-whatever suits those at the helm of power. From the first world to the third world countries, the world has always been the same for the media-as attempts to silence the jounalists through killings, slander, troll and threats of rape and murder has become a common tool. Anti media antagonism can manifest like an organized crusade in most of the cases — a common trait shared by the politicians, governments and dictators and their allies in the establishment. Their battles are waged in the courts, on social media and at rallies where politicians, government ministers and often spokespersons of allied establishment rants against the journalists who cover them, coax their die-hard fans into taunting and booing the press pens. This war often seems intended to inoculate those in power or struggling to ascend into power from criticism or scandal by undermining the public’s confidence in the news they see reported by the media. The best-organized efforts include a blitz of defamation lawsuits, well-financed undercover stings to engineer evidence of media bias and troll campaigns to embarrass individual reporters. Situation is far worse in Pakistan, where the long sought attempt to kill the free press is culminating, as draconian new-“media martial law” is in the offing. The government is trying to push through the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) ordinance 2021, in a recent attempt to centralise media oversight under one draconian authority. A country where media is already gasping for its freedom, the new law peddled by the government which came into power on the semantics of justice- promising to extend freedom to the media on the basis of what is practiced in the most advanced democracies of the world, is now planning an ordinance which is nothing less a shoot to kill order on media. Under the new law, the media outlets need to acquire an NOC to remain operational, and proposes establishment of media tribunas which will be able to hand punishment of upto three years in jail and 25 million in fines to content producers, if found violating the provisions of the new law. The law might also be able to break up large scale media groups and extend repressive control of digital platforms, probably a simple method to madness- turning media houses into state mouthpieces. The new law not only legalises blanket censorship, but creeps over constitutional principles and guarantees of freedom of expression, free press and profession of journalism-that too under a democratic set-up. The ordinance does not stops here in fact proposes to repeal all current media laws including the Press Council Ordinance, 2002, the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance, 2002, the Newspaper Employees, (Conditions of Service Act), 1973, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002, as amended by the Pemra Amendment Act, 2007, and the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979. PMDA has already been rejected by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PGUJ), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and various other rights organizations, but it’s probably going to fall on a deaf ear, since this government has a habit of promulgating laws through presidential order, if it fails to gather support in the parliament. It is now also becoming ironic how the government is acting like a self styled regime, free to pick and choose from the practices of democracies and dictatorships, justifying its every move through its army of spokespersons it thinks should only be the true source of information and reflection of a free media. Not just this, the government- the champions of the free press, earlier passed an eye washand rudderless journalists’ protection bill, under the garb of attracting some positive press, deflecting attention from its real objectives, and proving that its law-making has become mere lip service. The world press freedom index has already ranked Pakistan at 145 level out of 180 countries surveyed,and in its report earlier in April this year, it had been revealed that the influence on media has increased dramatically since Imran Khan became prime minister in July 2018. There have been many cases of brazen censorship. Distribution of newspapers has been interrupted. Media outlets have been threatened with the withdrawal of advertising. The signals of TV channels that gave airtime to opposition representatives have been jammed, the report said about Pakistan. The RSF in its report has suggested that the current government after reining in the traditional media, have set about purging the Internet and social media of content not to its liking. The clamp down on media and press freedoms is not a new phenomenon, successive governments and military regimes have come even harder and regurgitated these tired tropes. But one thing’s for sure, that if this law comes into effect, and Pakistan’s press is reduced down to a government mouthpiece in such a slapstick manner, the country is headed towards an absolute autocratic rule.