Entry of mediapersons to Civil Secretariat Peshawar banned
Journalists now need permission from bureaucracy to do job PESHAWAR: The entry of journalists into the Civil Secretariat has been banned and the police authorities have been directed to not allow any member of the media to enter without “proper” permission.
The Administration Department in an office order has directed the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) on duty to restrict journalists from entering the Civil Secretariat without permission.
The order was issued by the deputy secretary of the Administration Department on May 20 apparently to thwart the agitation of the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) and Provincial Management Service (PMS) officers against the chief secretary. The strike continued for three weeks. The officers had pitched tents in the lawns of the chief secretary’s office. Besides, political parties’ delegations and a number of mediapersons used to visit the protest venue during the weeks-long pen-down strike and sit-in of the officers.
The strike has now been called off. The protesting officers gave one month deadline to the government to resolve problems being faced by the PCS and PMS officers. The DS Administration Department’s order, while citing “security and decorum” issue of the Civil Secretariat during the officers protest), has said that it has been observed that despite repeated instructions, tents are brought in and pitched in lawns (chief secretary office) and mediapersons enter in violation of Civil Secretariat entry policy.
The order “strictly warned the police authorities that no irrelevant person be allowed to enter Civil Secretariat without permission. No mediaperson be allowed to enter without proper permission,” it warned. However, it did not elaborate as to what would be the “proper” permission and who would be authorized to give it at the gates of the Civil Secretariat.It also directed the police authorities that no tent or other decoration material and no loudspeaker or sound amplifier should be allowed in the Civil Secretariat.
The Administration Department directed that all official and non-official vehicles should be properly checked outside the entry gates. It added that vehicles should only be allowed after ensuring that none of the aforesaid violations is made.It is the first time that such tough restriction orders have been conveyed to the police officials to bar the journalists from entering the Civil Secretariat where according to data their eight percent of professional activities are supposed to take place. Some of the senior journalists, who knew about the restrictionimposed by the Administration Department, preferred to stay away from the pre-budget Seminar held at the Finance Department on Thursday.The journalists’ bodies have taken note of the dictatorial orders of the bureaucracy and president Peshawar Press Club, Syed Bukhar Shah has said it would be taken up with the provincial government. He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition on the one hand has implemented the Right to Information (RTI) law to ensure access of the media to public record. “But on the other hand, the bureaucracy in the province has barricaded the Civil Secretariat for the members of the media to obstruct them from discharging their lawful duty