Laws relating to print media: CPNE demands withdrawal of amendments made on November 3 -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Laws relating to print media: CPNE demands withdrawal of amendments made on November 3

KARACHI (May 16 2008): The Standing Committee of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) at its meeting presided over by CPNE President Arif Nizami on Thursday called upon the Federal Information and Broadcasting Ministry to take immediate steps for the revocation of the amendments made in the laws relating to the print media on November 3, 2007.

The reiteration by the ministry of the commitment of the government to press freedom and unhindered working of the print media in the service of democratic practice and the nation.

The meeting declared in a strongly worded resolution that all the claims of providing freedom of the press by the government led by Prime Minister Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gilani were meaningless as long as the amendments to the media laws as made by the President of Pakistan on November 3, 2007 were not withdrawn. The CPNE maintained that the withdrawal of the above amendments would establish the credentials of the government for a meaningful dialogue on the subject of press freedom and amendments to various laws having a bearing on the press freedom in the country.

The meeting also heard from President CPNE Arif Nizami, a letter addressed to him by Jang and Geo Group Chief Mir Shakilur Rahman on the subject of several restrictions taken against the group and Geo-TV by the government thus infringing upon press freedom. The meeting discussed the issue threadbare and Secretary General Khushnood Ali Khan briefed the standing committee on the subject. The meeting declared that the CPNE firmly stands by its member ie the Jang Group.

However, the meeting also opined in its strong resolution that the electronic media as such along with the print media must also abide by the norms of the code of ethics as adopted by the CPNE since 1983 wherein it is clearly stated that freedom of the press shall be exercised by all members cognisant of the responsibilities that it entails in which avoidance of all forms of sensationalism and inaccurate reporting was a commitment that must be fully respected.

In the same context the resolution while upholding the independence of the judiciary and appreciating the very important role of the judiciary in the efforts for the rule of law in Pakistan which the print and electronic media hold dear to heart appealed to the judiciary to uphold freedom of press as enshrined in the constitution.

The meeting took a serious note of the complaint from the Jang Group. According to its letter pressure is being exerted upon Dubai Media City by the government to ask Geo News not to telecast any programme about the reinstatement of judges. The meeting after extensive deliberations decided to engage in a dialogue with the government on the subject of working relationship in the service of democracy and the nation. However, such dialogue should be undertaken with the withdrawal of the amendments to the laws relating to the print media as wrongfully done by the government on November 3, 2007.

The meeting also endorsed a suggestion for the holding of a comprehensive programme of marking the completion of 60 years of the role of press in Pakistan. The meeting approved the establishment of a committee for the holding of this programme.

The meeting also extended its heartfelt condolences to CPNE Secretary General Khushnood Ali Khan on the sad demise of his brother and underlined the need for a comprehensive inquiry into all aspects of the late Khalil Malik murder case by the investigating authorities.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:5/16/2008