PFUJ condemns attack on Business Recorder, Aaj TV offices -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PFUJ condemns attack on Business Recorder, Aaj TV offices

ISLAMABAD (May 14 2007): A number of isssues about people’s right to be informed and the media freedom as well as the incidence of five hour long prolonged firing on Aaj TV channel and Business Recorder offices in Karachi on Saturday were condemned at the Media Conference hosted by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists on Sunday.

A number of speakers also roundly condemned the incident.

The attack on Aaj Channel took the security agencies eight hours to respond to the cries for help while 350 reporters, sub-editors and camera operators of the TV channel remained at the peril of losing their lives. Abdul Hameed Chapra, Patron of PFUJ, presided over the one-day conference. He said the delay in arrival of help is symptomatic of the turn of events in which the rights of the people and the constitutional guarantees for the people to receive information was under threat.

Chapra remarked the PFUJ was waging struggle on behalf of the journalists since 1950 for media freedom as well as equitable remuneration to enable journalists to go about the duties of their profession without fear or favour and with minimum worry that their families would live decently.

He reminded the audience that the implementation of the Wage Board was promised last Ramadan, but even after delay of seven months the exact date of implementation was still unknown.

Speaking on the occasion Munir Malik, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and a Member of the Chief Justice’s defence college, said the personality of the CJ was immaterial.

‘The more important issue is to restore balance, in which one pillar of the state did not over step the domain of the other two institutions.’ The Media and the lawyers’ community were brothers in the struggle and could not have advanced in this campaign without the help of the Media, Munir Malik observed.

Paying tributes to the Media the fourth and most important pillar of the state he said the journalists had been able to awaken the consciousness of the people for restoring the supremacy of the judiciary.

They had also broken the myth of invincibility of authorities as well as give the message that instead of a rubberstamp the parliament must be sovereign. Earlier, PFUJ President brought up the need to redefine the meaning of the freedom of the Media as well as the relation between the freedom of the journalists and the role of the state. He said the firing incident on Aaj TV channel on last Saturday had connections with the question.

Replying to question by senior journalist Afzal Khan, Munir Khan said the guidelines issued for media coverage about Supreme Court cases were of administrative nature. ‘A true judge would not be influenced by media clippings.’

Issues discussed at the conference included the Wage Board Award, and the relation between journalists and editor cum newspaper owners were discussed. The latter was thwarting the implementation of the Wage Board Award while the more practical thing would be for the two categories to come together and establish a joint organisation for the benefit of these two categories.

An obituary reference in memory of the fearless journalist the Late Ahmad Ali Khan was also a part of the proceeding of the Media Conference.

Every one appreciated the late editor for his conspicuous habit of backing up his staff as well as owning the responsibility of the printed word on his own shoulder in preference to making reporters culpable for them. Ahmad Ali Khan did his best to present two sides of the argument, said a participant at the obituary reference.

A number of speakers spoke at the conference, including Afzal Butt, President of Rawalpindi Union of Journalists, well known columnist Munnoo Bhai, Ariff Bhatti, President Punjab Union of Journalists, senior journalist Afzal Butt, RIUJ secretary general C R Shamsi, Fauzia Shahid, ANP leader Haji Adeel.

Nasir Zaidi, who lashes in 1978 during the regime of former president Zia ul Haque, and Ashfaq Gondal, Amer Matin, a former Dawn reporter Muhammad Riaz, who had worked with late Ahmad Ali Khan, and Matiullah Jan also spoke at the conference.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:5/14/2007