Struggle for Press freedom continues: Arif Nizami -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Struggle for Press freedom continues: Arif Nizami

LAHORE – President Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and Editor The Nation, Arif Nizami has said that freedom of Press in a country where democracy remained absent for a long time was not below the mark. Our elders like Hameed Nizami (late) played a vigorous role for the freedom of Press and the struggle is still continuing.
He was addressing a seminar organised by Press Institute of Pakistan (PIP) on the role of media in the strengthening of democracy in connection with the Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Arif Nizami said that in the past the NPT newspapers and their editors posed as government spokesmen while some newspapers in line with them were not absolutely free. However, he said, the scenario has changed now. After November 3 steps, the government imposed restrictions on electronic channels and demanded removal of four/five journalists including Talat Hussain from service but the management of these channels refused to obey the government orders.

Arif Nizami said that media is one of the important pillar of the state which is truly struggling for the strengthening of democracy. After November 3 the media has advanced the judges’ issue to such an extent that judiciary was also forced to think of media.

He said February 19 elections was a referendum against Gen Musharraf but he is still sitting in his office. Talking about quality of media, he said the standard of channels was though not equal to CNN or BBC yet it was remarkable.
He said journalism is our life whether it is Nawa-i-Waqt or Jang Group. Now some people have penetrated into the media who are engaged in business of billions of rupees but they are providing services to the masses as well.

Regarding journalists contacts with politicians, he said it was obvious by nature of their job but some journalists had become advisors to politicians which was not good.
He said if journalism had to be strengthened, the ministry of information had to be refined.

He said opposition had always demanded freedom of Press but after coming into the power they suppressed the freedom. The journalists and newspapers have harassed in different ways through agencies, customs and CBR departments, he said.

He said PEMRA is a rolling stone between information ministry and Cabinet divisions.

Executive group editor Jinnah, Athar Masood said that pain and agony in true journalism is rewarded by Allah. He said some generals started ugly things with the support of some judges and now some journalists had also become a part of them. Ali Salman Jaafri said that there were many hurdles in true journalism and the community faced many odds and hardships which were still continuing.

Prof Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz of the Institute of Communication Studies, Punjab University said the state of freedom of Press in Pakistan was miserable as compared to other countries. Pakistan falls at 152nd position among the comity of 167 nations at the graph of freedom of Press.
Source: The Nation
Date:5/4/2008