APNS seeks implementation of decisions -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

APNS seeks implementation of decisions

KARACHI: The prime minister has directed the Information Ministry to expeditiously finalise their recommendations to solve the problems faced by the print media, stated a spokesman for the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).Kazi Asad Abid, Secretary General, APNS has announced that on December 04, 2006 at Islamabad, Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan, received a delegation of the APNS headed by Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, President of the Society. The delegation apprised the prime minister of problems faced by newspapers and periodicals. The president, APNS invited the attention of the prime minister that in the last meeting held on May 27, 2006 several decisions were taken by the prime minister but so far, the decisions have not been implemented.

He pointed out that since 2002 the agenda to amend and improve the press laws, especially the Freedom of Information Ordinance and the Defamation Ordinance has not been accomplished. The ministries, despite various assurances and decisions, have not yet initiated a meaningful dialogue to review the press laws. He also pointed out that amendments to the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973 are also pending since long. The APNS pointed out that to cope with the pace of developments in the communication sector, the print media needs institutes for training of journalists, managerial and marketing personnel and newspaper industry. The prime minister had agreed in the May 2006 meeting that the Ministry of Information would organise such training programmes, but so far no progress has been made.

The president, APNS, apprised the prime minister of the problems faced by the newspaper industry regarding exemption from GST, etc on newsprint import, withdrawal of the recent amendments in the Finance Bill 2006 wherein the newspapers were brought in the Final Tax Regime. The president, APNS also placed problems arising out of the existing advertising policy and the practices of the PID. He suggested that the Central Media Policy be finalised in consultation with the APNS. The prime minister patiently heard the point of view of the APNS delegation and constituted a committee headed by APNS President, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman comprising APNS members and officials of the Law and Labour ministries to prepare recommendations on the issues relating to the amendments to the Press Laws and revamping the advertising policy.

The prime minister also constituted a committee headed by Secretary Finance with the members from the APNS and Ministry of Information to discuss and finalise the APNS suggestions on exemption of newspapers from Final Tax Regime, withdrawal of GST on imports of newsprint, etc. The prime minister advised the Secretary Information to immediately plan the project for training of media-men. The APNS delegation thanked the prime minister for prompt decisions and hoped that these decisions would be implemented in letter and spirit. Kazi Asad Abid, Secretary General, APNS has further stated that earlier, in the morning, the Executive Committee of the APNS held its meeting chaired by the President APNS, Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.

The meeting considered the situation arising out of the last week incident wherein the Akhbar Farosh Federation, without any notice had decided not to lift Daily Nawa-i-Waqt and Daily The Nation in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The Executive Committee strongly condemned the arbitrary action of the Federation and resolved that such actions taken without consulting the newspaper or the relevant committee of the APNS tantamounts to black-mailing which should be strictly avoided in the interest of industrial peace. The Executive Committee has directed its Distribution & Retail Market Committee headed by Arif Nizami to review the situation and prepare its recommendations including alternate distribution systems of newspapers for the consideration of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee considered the report of its sub-committee under Dr Jabbar Khattak on exemption of newspapers from Final Tax Regime. The committee had noted that the overwhelming majority of regional and smaller member publications have been brought into the FTR whereas all the member publications were already in the tax net. The Ordinance was disastrous for the print media and requested the CBR to withdraw the related amendment in the Finance Bill 2006. The Executive Committee approved the list of holidays for the year 2007. The meeting was attended by the following:

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman President, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami Sr Vice President, Inquilab Matri Vice President, Kazi Asad Abid, Secretary General, Masood Hamid, Joint Secretary, Anwar Farooqui Finance Secretary, Mumtaz A Tahir (Daily Aftab), Mehtab Khan (Daily Ausaf), Waseem Ahmed (Daily Awam, Quetta), Dr Jabbar Khattak (Daily Awami Awaz), Arshad A Zuberi (D/Business Recorder), Abdul Rashid Ghazi (D/Business Report), Siddiq Baluch (D/Balochistan Express), Syed Faseih Iqbal (D/Balochistan Times), Sharif Farooq (Daily Jihad), Javed Mehr Shamsi (D/Kaleem), Imtenan Shahid (D/Khabrain), Aamir Mahmood (M/Kiran), Adeeb Javedani (M/Moon Digest), Syed Sajjad Bokhari (D/Musawat), Arif Nizami (D/Nawa-i-Waqt/The Nation), Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi (M/Naey Ufaq), SM Munir Jillani (D/Paigham), Khushnood Ali Khan (D/Sahafat), Jamil Athar (D/Tijarat, Sargodha) and Pir Sufaid Shah Hamdard (D/Wahdat).Syed Samad Ali of Daily Jang, Zahid Malik of Daily Pakistan Observer and Ghulam Nabi Chandio of Daily Pak, Karachi attended the meeting as special observers.
Source: The News