International Press Institute (IPI) calls for amendment in draft Press Council Ordinance
KARACHI- The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors and media executives, while welcoming the formation of a proposed Press Council Ordinance in Pakistan, urged President Rafiq Tarar to amend the ordinance to bring the council into line with other such ones around the world and affirming independence of the media.
In view of the difficulties inherent in the ordinance, the IPI is willing to work closely with the ruling authorities and other interested parties in Pakistan, to develop a press council, which reflects international model and takes into account the vibrant media scene in Pakistan.
The IPI has extensive experience of working with both the media and the government to advance the cause of press freedom and this experience may well be of help in creating a successful press council. IPI Director Johann P. Fritz told Tarar in a communication.
He said in general, the IPI welcomes the formation of a press council in Pakistan and believes that the decision represents a considerable advance and will promote greater understanding between journalists and the public.
The IPI, he noted, is also pleased by the decision of ruling authorities to draft a Freedom of Information Ordinance, which when taken in conjunction with the ordinance, is evidence that ruling authority is making head in its attempts to improve freedom of the press and freedom of expression within Pakistan.
Furthermore, the Freedom of Information Ordinance will encourage investigative journalism and assist in fight against corruption at all levels of society.
Although the IPI will examine the draft Freedom of Information Ordinance in a later report, it is of the firm opinion that press council in its present form is “unsuitable and may have consequences for Pakistan print-media. In particular, it is concerned that the decision to create a press council by presidential ordinance removes right of printed press to regulate itself and taints the notion of independence that is granted to the media in all democratic societies.
“When seen as a unified whole proposals in the Ordinance create the impression of a future press council which could be prejudiced and riven by conflicts of interest.” observed Fritz.
Source: Business Recorder