APNS rejects PA resolution against media
KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society at an emergency meeting held on Monday rejected what it described as an ‘astonishing and ill-conceived’ resolution on the state of Pakistani media passed on July 9 by the Punjab Assembly.
The meeting said the resolution which scandalised the national media was ‘a crude attempt to divert public attention’ from the ‘unseemly’ number of fake graduation degree-holders present in the Punjab legislature.
‘The burning issue today is the unbecoming conduct of the Punjab legislature. Why attack freedom of the press when upon oath you have undertaken as members of the Punjab Assembly to defend Article 19 to the fullest?” APNS President Hameed Haroon said.
A resolution unanimously adopted at the meeting said it felt ‘embittered’ at ‘the self-serving allegations’ hurled by the members of the Punjab legislature with respect to ‘regional and ethnic discrimination’ and ‘irresponsible reporting prompted by vested interests’ in the national media. The resolution noted that the Punjab chief minister, the speaker and the government benches representing both the PML-N and PPP, and ‘even’ the opposition PML-Q ‘collectively — as if by prior arrangement — observed a silent acquiescence’ during the passage of the resolution.
The resolution said: “The Punjab Assembly — in its transgression of constitutional proprieties and by virtue of an irresponsible conduct — has demonstrated that it, rather than the national press, represents a threat to a smooth progression of the democratic ethic.”
The Pakistan Broadcasters Association also condemned the Punjab Assembly resolution and pointed out that its member broadcasters were supportive of the democratic dispensation but it was their duty to enlighten the electorate of unethical practices adopted by certain elected representatives.
It said in a statement that the people of Pakistan expected their representatives to have high moral standards as they looked upto them as their leaders entrusted with their destiny.
The association said that it would resist with ‘full force’ assembly resolutions or laws aimed at scuttling the media freedom.