All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) draft law on Press Council sent to government -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) draft law on Press Council sent to government

ISLAMABAD- The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has handed over its draft legislation for formation of Press Council, Access to information Ordinance and Press, Newspapers and Books Registration Act to the government, said the Secretary General APNS Arshad A. Zuberi.

The members of the Executive Committee which met in Islamabad under the chairmanship of its President Mir Shakilur Rehman, received the draft from the APNS committee on Press Laws and decided to circulate copies of the 64 pages document, “The Press and Law” to editors of all leading newspapers, heads of professional bodies including the ones that are likely to be represented in the Council and the Deans/Chairmen of Journalism Department of educational institutions in Pakistan with a request to give suggestions to APNS within 15 days. A copy of the same is also being given to the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors and the Federal Secretary Information to seek their suggestion with the objective of improving it.

The Executive Committee deliberated at length about the financial constraints facing the Print Media and the factors responsible for holding back modernisation and induction of technology. The member cited the high cost of machinery, graphic material and the rising trend in prices of news print which has forced the media to refrain from upgrading their facilities. It was also strongly felt that the administrative cost has primarily bloated due to the high salary structure of non-journalists especially the clerical, security and transport staff drawing much higher salaries than their counterparts performing similar functions in the other industries. The reason for this anomaly is the wage board enforced by the government in the Print Media. This practice emanates from a law i.e. The Newspapers EmpIoyees Act promulgated during the dictatorial era in the country. It was pointed out that while the government has abolished wage boards in government owned public sector/banks, the Print Media still held hostage under an archaic setup. Closure of major newspapers like Pakistan Times, Imroze, Morning News and Mashriq are prime examples even the national news agency APP has to be heavily subsidised from the exchequer. APNS members noted with concern the statements by the Labour Minister about formation of the wage board which lack understanding of the depth of financial crisis in the Print Media.

The APNS Executive Committee appreciated the cooperation extended by the government, especially the functionaries of PID and AGPR in expediting payment of arrears under special grant provided by the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf. The committee members decided to grant provisional accreditation to M/s Awan and Kapadia Private Limited Karachi.

The following attended the meeting:

Mir Shakilur Rehma,, President, Mr Jamil Athar, Sr. Vice President, Mr Zia Shahid, Vice President, Arshad A. Zuberi, Secretary General, Muhammad Aslam Qazi, Finance Secretary, Mumtaz A. Tahir (Aftab), Dr Jabbar Khattak (Awami Awaz), Mr Anwar Farooqi (Aghaz), Mr Waseem Ahmed (Awam), Syed Fasih lqbal (Balochistan Times), Mr Abdul Rashid Ghazi (Business), Kazi Asad Abid (Ibrat Magazine), Mr Usama (Jassarat), Hafiz Bashir Ahmad (Mussawat), Syed Ayaz Badshah (Mashriq), Mushtaq A. Qureshi, (Naye Ufaq), Mr M.M. Gurmani (Nawa-i-Waqt), Mujibur Rehman Shami (Pakistan), Zahid Malik (Pakistan Observer), Dost Ali Bhatti (Paigham-e-Sindh), IlyasShakir (QuomiAkhbar), Riaz Ahmed Mansoori (The Cricketers), Ejaz Hassan Qureshi (Urdu Digest), Pir Sufaid Shah Hamdard (Wahdat), Mustaffa Sadiq (Wifaq).

Source: The Nation