Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) concerned over government Press advice
BHURBAN- President Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Arif Nizami has said that the Press is custodian of freedom of expression and democracy. He said that Press freedom is essential for the national progress and the newspapers have achieved this freedom after a long struggle. He said that Press freedom will be protected at any cost. He was addressing the meeting of CPNE Standing Committee held here. The meeting was attended by the members of committee throughout the country.
The participants of the meeting CPNE concerned over advice expressed views on government Press relations, threats to Press freedom, ‘directives’ and ‘orders’ received from the government and the concerned officers with regard to the publication of news and photographs and the pressure of various parties and organizations. The meeting expressed concern over the Press advice issued by the government. It was said on the one
side the Chief Executive says that Press is free while on the other side, telephone calls are being received from the high-ups about the coverage of the news. The meeting said it is astonishing that advice is given for putting the headlines of ‘their’ choice on official
news. The meeting also expressed concern over the advice of the government to some newspapers to take down editorials in accordance with its own desire. Several newspapers jointly complained that some bureaucrats are creating hindrance in the working of Editors. It was said that newspapers have been asked to play down the news about the water crisis.
The participants of the meeting expressed concern over the report that Nawa-i-Waqt Bahawalnagar Press photographer Ahmed Nawaz Abbasi was arrested only for the reason that he delivered the photograph of a Pakistani died owing to drought in Cholistan to an international news agency AFP. According to the official version, the publication of the said photograph jeopardized the integrity of the country. The photographer was detained under MPO 16.
The meeting demanded the release of the said photographer. It was also stressed that the said law should not be used against the newspapers and journalists because newspapers and journalists are not anti-state. The meeting condemned the closure of Inquilab and
K-2. the newspapers of Quetta and Islamabad. The act was termed as the signal of a big danger.
The CPNE President observed that responsibility of the newspapers is enhanced when the Assemblies are suspended. He said that newspapers will fulfill their responsibilities under all circumstances. On this occasion, Qazi Asad Abid. Chief Editor Ibrat Hyderabad told the meeting that a military official got the running machine of a newspaper stopped for two and a half hours in order to remove a news about the land occupation. He insisted that he should be apprised of the actual sources of the news and the actual copy of this news should be handed over to him.
The CPNE Secretary-General Ilyas Shakir while submitting the report of the meeting of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and CPNE high-level delegation with the Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider told that the Interior Minister expressed concern over the wide coverage of the news about sectarian violence. The Interior Minister appealed to
the newspapers not to project those elements who are out to destroy peace. According to the Interior Minister, the projection of such news not only causes embarrassment to the masses but it also brings bad name to the country. The Interior Minister said that the government has asked the jehadic organisations to refrain from exhibiting arms.
The participants of the meeting discussed the proposals and advice of the Interior Minister and said that the national Press itself avoids to publish poisonous statements and the national newspapers are showing responsible attitude.
Arif Nizami said: “We are aware of national interests and in favour of caution”. He urged the government to take measures for reducing the pressure of sectarian, ethnic and regional organisations and also ensure the life and property of the newspaper workers.
The meeting also exchanged views on Excess to Information Act. Later, the CPNE President said that the establishment of Press Council will not be possible before the promulgation of Excess to Information Act and both are deeply linked with each other.
The meeting also demanded imposition of RPPO amended Ordinance. The CPNE Standing Committee also approved the holding of the annual meeting of the Council and the elections. The meeting also authorised the CPNE President to announce the appropriate date of the elections. The meeting offered fateha over the demise of Chief Editor Khawateen Digest Karachi Mehmud Riaz.
The meeting took strong notice of the life threats given to Editor Daily Business Report Faisalabad by an educational institution. The CPNE demanded the Punjab government,
IGP Punjab and Home Secretary Punjab that stern action should be taken against those who violate the law.
The meeting was attended by Ilyas Shakir, Anwar Farooqi, Mumtaz Tahir, Khushnud Ali Khan, Pir Sufaid Shah. Zia Shahid, Mujibur Rehman Shami, Jamil Athar, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi, Shaheen Qureshi, Khalid Muhammad Shah, Qazi Asad Abid, Muhammad Aslam Qazi, Mukhtar Aqil, Zahid Malik, Syed Fashiuddin, M. Ziauddin, Prof H.B. Hasan, Sajjad Bukhari, Syed Mumtaz Ahmed, Mustansar Javed, Adib Javedani. Javed Mehr Shamsi, Dr. Jabbar Khattak, Altaf Hasan Qureshi, Wasim Ahmed and S.M Munir Jilani.
Source: The Nation