APNS flays indifference of information ministry -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

APNS flays indifference of information ministry

KARACHI- The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has strongly flayed consistent indifference of the Information Ministry over the pending issues relating to the print media, especially the amendments to the Freedom of Information Ordinance and the formation of Press Council of Pakistan, a spokesman of the society said.

The APNS said that the ministry was more actively engaged in efforts to divide the representative organisations and newspaper industry than focusing on promotion of free and fair press in the country.

The APNS said that the Freedom of Information Ordinance was rejected by the APNS and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) as illegitimate, unconstitutional and unethical.

The Draft Ordinance was inconsistent and in flagrant violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The APNS point of view was discussed in a joint meeting with the Information and Law ministers on November 7, 2002, wherein after detailed deliberation and discussion, it was decided that the federal government would incorporate the proposals and observations of the APNS and the CPNE under the new rules.

It is gross negligence on part of the Information Ministry that despite lapse of over eight months, the rules have yet to be framed.

This approach suggested that the federal government intended to rule the press with arbitrary laws and deny the right of every citizen to record any information pertaining to the affairs of the government.

The APNS has also said that the Press Council Ordinance was promulgated in September 2002, but the apathy of the federal ministry is evident from the fact that no efforts has so far been made to form the Press Council of Pakistan.

This attitude is not merely an act of negligence bit the Information Ministry intentionally avoided to proceed for the formation of Press Council of Pakistan, so as to arbitrarily curb the press freedom and subjugate the press.

The proposed Press Council can only be objective and meaningful if the Information Ministry changes its arbitrary approach towards the print media.

The centralised advertisement policy adopted by the federal government is also a clear manifestation of the dictatorial policies being adopted by the present government.

Instead of attending urgently to the pending issues with the Information Ministry, it is consistently involved in dividing the press, the APNS spokesman said.

With the overwhelming and unstinted support of the newspaper industry, the APNS resolves to resist the conspiracy to disrupt unity in the ranks of newspaper industry and foil the efforts to divide the industry into different factions.

The APNS is of the considered opinion that destabilisation of institutions, especially the press tantamount to negate democratic norms in the country.

The APNS urged upon the Jamali government to take stock of the concerted campaign to disrupt press organisations as it would ultimately reflect upon democratic disposition in Pakistan, the spokesmen said.

Source: Business Recorder
Date:8/1/2003