PFUJ challenges govt claim that media is free -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PFUJ challenges govt claim that media is free

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has stated that a recent government advertisement saying “Freedom of Expression … Like never before” is “misleading.” The PFUJ said this in a press release issued on Tuesday.

Responding to the advertisement published by leading newspapers, which is a part of President General Pervez Musharraf’s campaign for re-election, the PFUJ press release said that various “black laws, including the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA),” still existed.

“A report on media under President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will be released in the next couple of days,” it said.

It added that the report would not only include names of the journalists killed, attacked, kidnapped “by intelligence agencies,” and registration of cases against journalists, but also the “deteriorating working conditions under which thousands of newspaper employees are still working.”

“It’s the only government that failed to implement the 7th Wage Award and ignored unanimous resolutions passed by the National Assembly, Senate and all the four provincial assemblies. The government that could not honour its own commitment made at the floor of the august house, could not be called democratic.”

“During the past seven years, murderers of the journalists have not been arrested. On the contrary, the people nominated in the murder of journalists were released because they were protected by the higher-ups in the government,” it said.

Merely granting licences to private TV channels and then bringing them under government “control,” through various means, including highly controversial PEMRA law, run mostly by “police officials,” cable-operators, black-listing guests, forcing channels to air and not to air certain programmes through “Press Advices,” raised serious questions about the tall claims of the Ministry of Information about the “freedom of expression, “ under the present government, the PFUJ statement added. It appealed to the civil society, lawyers and people from various section of society to join hands for a joint struggle to defend Press Freedom and to protect journalists in Pakistan.
Source: Daily Times
Date:9/26/2007