Editors extremely worried
LAHORE- Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) expressed its serious concern over some amendments in the Antiterrorist Act and observed that the present or any future government could misuse these Press related clauses against the newspapers.
The CPNE which met under the chairmanship of its President Mr. Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami was of the view that this draculian law, which has sent a very negative message to the Press, in fact should apply to those ethnic and sectarian organizations, which were harassing and obstructing the function of free Press in the country. Those elements have recently burnt copies of an Urdu newspaper in Karachi.
According to these amendments any newspaper indulging in printing, publishing and disseminating any “objectionable” material will be liable for summary procedure and on conviction to a term of six months imprisonment and a fine.
The CPNE also pointed out that an understanding was reached between Press and Ministry of Information as a result of that a draft RPPO was finalized and it was decided that it should be promulgated through an ordinance at the earliest. In this draft the government had conceded the traditional stand of CPNE that no special law for dealing with the Press should be formulated and the lapsed RPPO should be revived to oversee and regulate the government Press relations, which were deteriorating gradually.
The Council observed that at present no law existed in the country after lapse of RPPO, which had resulted into void creating serious administrative and legal problems for the Press. In view of these difficulties, the council authorized the President and Secretary General of the Council, Mr. Zahid Malik to convey to the President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf the serious concern of the Press industry over the present sad state of affairs.
The meeting recalled that the representatives of the Press industry had voluntarily agreed of the formation of the Press council so that all matters relating to the Press should be settled amicably. But the formation of the Press council had been jeopardized by the government functionaries.
The meeting also took serious view of the contemptuous remarks of federal Interior Minister describing critical reports of “Press as Press Terrorism”. The council viewed such repeated remarks as harassment of the Press.
The CPNE also decoded at its marathon session to hold a series of lectures by those respectable editors of the country whose contribution to promotion of healthy policies of Press were commendable. In this connection the first lecture would be delivered by M.A. Zuberi, Chief Editor Business Recorder in Karachi to be followed by a similar lecture by Majid Nizami, Chief Editor Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation.
CPNE also decided to invite five editors of prominent newspapers of Bangladesh as guests of the council in March so that a better relationship between the Pakistani and Bangladeshi Press could be forged.
The CPNE express sorrow and offered fateha over the demise of Abdul Samad Wani, editor weekly Kasheer. Hassan Rizvi a noted journalist and writer and the mother of Mr. Sajjad Bukhari editor daily Musawaat.
Those who attended the meeting of the CPNE include Mr. Zahid Malik, Editor in Chief Pakistan Observer; Arif Nizami, editor daily The Nation, Mr. Jamil Athar, editor daily Tajarat, Mr. Riaz Mansoori, editor Monthly Cricketer, Mr. Shaheen Qureshi, executive editor daily Jang, Mr. Adeeb Javedani, editor Moon Digest, Qazi Asad Abid, editor daily Ibrat, Ghazi Abdul Rasheed editor Business Report, Mr. Altaf Qureshi editor Urdu Digest, Mr. Jabbar Khattak Karachi, Mr. Amar Mahmood Karachi, Mr. Sajjad Bukhari editor daily Musawaat and Pir Safaid Shah Hamdard of Peshawar.
Source: The Nation