No media cells for anti-judiciary campaign: secretary -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

No media cells for anti-judiciary campaign: secretary

By: Dilshad Azeem

ISLAMABAD: Special news assignment cells are being established in the state-run media entities to campaign against the judiciary and to counter media organizations independently highlighting the executive-judiciary related issues.

“One of the government-run organizations has completed its initial work while inducting its team members,” well-placed officials told The News here on Wednesday. “It has been decided to set-up special news assignment cells to ensure an error-free coverage of day to day special news events in an extensive manner,” reads an internal memo of Associated Press Pakistan (APP) after it got specific directives from its bosses.

Available with this correspondent, the memo shows that most of the team members are the same who have been active in the Musharraf era, particularly in post Nov 3, 2007 emergency period, to malign the judges.

The Pakistan Television (PTV) and Pakistan Radio are also going to set up such kind of cells which according to insiders would focus on two points, judiciary with the top priority and the opposition having secondary position, the officials at Information Ministry said.

Secretary Information Chaudhry Rashid, when contacted, said there is neither any order on part of his office or Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira about the special cells. “However, these can be internal arrangements to improve the efficiency of the organization as you are mentioning the APP,” the information secretary added. “We, the Information Ministry, have not given any kind of directives.”

The purpose, he said, might be to improve quality as well as timing of filing the stories in the era of competition. “Taking administrative measures is a routine practice in the organization.” However, the sources insisted that the special cells would report on daily basis to the government functionaries on generating the “news stories” to be released in support of the government with a goal of weakening the judiciary.

The APP, virtually taking the lead, has set up its cell to assign the field reporters on different ideas on pressing another state institution led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the government is unflinching on its stand not to implement the major court decisions including the NRO verdict.

None of the coalition partners have been taken into confidence by the PPP before finalizing its media strategy to launch an offensive drive ahead of the general elections, the sources said. Headed by Muhammad Naeem Chaudhry, Director (ENS) APP, Islamabad, it will initially be manned by at least four reporters (two each from English & Urdu) at Islamabad, the APP order says.

The News