APNS deplores continuing ad ban
KARACHI – The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has strongly deplored the continuing ban on government advertisements to Nawa-i-Waqt, The Nation and other newspapers and urged the president of Pakistan to intervene in the matter.
According to a spokesman of the society, the executive committee of the APNS at a recent meeting held in Lahore considered the deteriorating press-government relations. It adopted a resolution which noted that the complete ban on advertisements of the federal and provincial governments to Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation suggested that the Ministry of Information was consistently pursuing a policy of using advertisements as a lever against certain newspapers to dictate its policy.
This, the resolution said, was contrary to the assurances repeatedly given by President General Pervez Musharraf. It said that the policy was an indirect attempt to browbeat the free press and violated the vital tenet of Article 19 of the constitution of Pakistan, which guaranteed the freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The APNS said that it had always advocated deregulation and decentralization of government advertisements which had been used by successive governments against the dissenting press.
The executive committee formed a committee to take up the issue with the authorities concerned and decide its line of action to get the matter resolved. The committee is headed by Syed Faseih Iqbal and consists of Mr Muhammad Aslam Kazi, Mr Hameed Haroon, Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Mr Mujeebur Rahman Shami, Mr Zia Shahid, Mr Mustafa Sadiq and Ms Qudsia Khan.
The executive committee reviewed the ongoing advertisement campaign of the APNS against the Wage Board Award and Newspapers Employees Act, 1973, and noted that the response was encouraging as almost all member publications had published the ads as desired by the society.
The members decided that after the conclusion of the first part of the campaign, the APNS would launch advertisements for the freedom of the press. The executive committee also noted that despite assurances given by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, the government of Punjab had not yet cleared the dues of member publications relating to special supplements and advised the Punjab provincial committee to take up the issue with the provincial authorities.