PFUJ fears new curbs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PFUJ fears new curbs

ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has said it fears more restrictions on media, particularly on TV news channels, on the ‘polling day’ as government is reported to have issued directives to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take action against channels violating the so-called ‘code of conduct’, for the coverage of elections.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, PFUJ leaders said they had serious doubts about government’s commitment of allowing the media free access during the elections.

“There can be blackout of some TV news channels at the time of the results or even before,” they said.

They also said they believed that registration of cases against 78 journalists in Sindh in the post-December 27 violence under Anti-Terrorism Act, was aimed at stopping journalists in the interior of Sindh from independently covering the elections. All these journalists are on bail before arrest and have complained that police have threatened them of arrest.

They said that the PFUJ had been demanding the lifting of ban on several TV anchors of some channels because it was a direct interference in the editorial policies of these channels.

It was a serious issue of freedom of expression and the PFUJ, they said, would continue its struggle for the anchors stopped from performing their professional duties “due to outside interference in the editorial policies”.

Source: Dawn
Date:2/16/2008