Journalists’ struggle praised
Peshawar — Speakers at a seminar here on Thursday lauded the struggle being waged by working journalists for gathering and disseminating information and opposed all kinds of curbs placed on the press by successive regimes in the country.
The seminar on the International Press Freedom Day was held by the Khyber Union of Journalists at the Peshawar Press Club.
NWFP People’s Party Parliamentarians senior vice-president Syed Qamar Abbas, Peshawar High Court Bar Association president Latif Afridi, provincial Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai, Aurat Foundation resident director Rukhshanda Naz, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam information secretary Abdul Jalil Jan, KhUJ president Jan Afzal, Tribal Union of Journalists chief Nasir Mohmand and PPC president M. Riaz spoke on the importance of press freedom and economic rights of journalists and other newspaper workers.
Mr Abbas said the press and journalists could not be impartial in a class-based society as in the ensuing war of interests they would have to side with the marginalised and downtrodden people. He said the press should not side with the corrupt, exploitative and evil forces of society. He said it was the duty of the press to report the truth to people and expose the corrupt and unscrupulous elements. He said the electronic media channels had exposed the hidden agendas of the dictators and multi-national companies playing with the sovereignty of countries.
Mr Afridi said military dictators had played havoc with the country and tarnished its image.
He said the journalist fraternity had demonstrated courage during the coverage of reference against the chief justice of Pakistan and borne the brunt of the state’s “highhandedness” but the media owners had changed their tone.
He said the lawyers would always support journalists in their struggle for access to information, dissemination of truth and rule of law.
Mr Daudzai criticised the federal government for allegedly hiding and diluting the truth about the situation in different areas of the country.
He claimed that when NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani had informed the press about planting of an explosive device outside the Frontier House, the federal government had got the news censored. He said the provincial government had always raised its voice for the rights of working journalists.
Ms Naz said women were not given key posts to prove their potential.