APNS lauds Pemra bill adoption by NA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

APNS lauds Pemra bill adoption by NA

KARACHI: The Executive Committee of the APNS at its meeting held at Karachi under the chairmanship of its President Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman noted that the ban on government advertising by the government has negatively affected the government-press relations and reflected upon the track record of the government on press freedom.

The Executive Committee considered the letter received from Daily Dawn wherein the publication had maintained that from December 22, 2006, the Federal Government has placed a ban on government advertisements in the publication. Since then, all pure government and government commercial advertisements released through PID, Islamabad or provincial PID offices have been stopped.

According to Dawn, the ban has been imposed without any reason, it seemed that the government is annoyed due to its reporting on Balochistan events and its refusal to act on the press advices issued from time to time from different government agencies.

The Executive Committee also noted that some member publications from Balochistan were also facing ban or curtailment of advertisements due to their reporting on events in the province.

The Executive Committee was of the opinion that it is the duty of the press to inform the people and ensure free flow of information.

It regretted that the unwise officials and bureaucrats of establishments consider the discharge of such professional duty as anti-national and contrary to the so called “national interest”.

The Committee was of the firm opinion that the term was misleading and vague and always been misused by successive governments.

The members of the Executive Committee requested President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to intervene in the matter so that the Govt-Press relations are not further deteriorated.

In this respect, a delegation, headed by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, would seek an urgent meeting with the President. The Executive Committee earnestly hoped that it would be a welcome gesture by the government to lift the ban without further delay. The APNS Executive Committee stated that the APNS has always advocated deregulation and decentralisation of government advertisements, so that they are not used by establishment as a tool for arm twisting of the dissenting press.

The Executive Committee was informed that in Sindh, the provincial government has curtailed its advertisements to some newspapers including Daily Aghaz, Karachi, Daily Frontier Post, Karachi, Daily Action, Karachi and other publications. The Committee urged upon the provincial government to ensure a transparent media policy and release advertisements on merit.

The members of the Executive Committee resolved that the allocation of the government advertising was not the prerogative of the officials of the governments but a right of genuine publications as these are paid from the public exchequer. The Committee decided to consult its legal counsels to approach the Apex Court of the country to restrain the governments to use advertisement as a lever to curb the fundamental rights of the press and the people as enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

In another resolution, the Executive Committee expressed its pleasure that after a long discourse, the National Assembly has adopted the PEMRA Amendment Bill to provide cross media ownership of electronic media. The Executive Committee thanked President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for their special interest in the matter and hoped that this amendment would help in the growth and development of free media in the country and would result in healthy competition among different channels to provide the people of Pakistan to access to information.

The Executive Committee approved grant of full membership to Daily Business Recorder, Islamabad and Daily The Regional Times of Sindh, Hyderabad.

The members of the Executive Committee offered Fateha on sad and sudden demise of Ednan Shahid, Editor of Daily The Post and son of Zia Shahid, Chief Executive of Khabrain Group and Kazi Saeed Akbar. The Committee considered the sudden demise of Ednan Shahid as a shocking news and noted that his untimely demise at the young age due to sudden heart failure is very tragic as there was no history of illness of this nature. The Executive Committee also expressed their profound grief over the demise of Kazi Saeed Akbar and observed that the deceased was a veteran publisher and editor and remained very active for the cause of print media. He also served the APNS as Secretary General from 1971 to 73.

The meeting of the Executive Committee was attended by the following.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, President APNS, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, Sr. Vice President, Inquilab Matri, Vice President, Kazi Asad Abid, Secretary General, Masood Hamid, Joint Secretary, Anwar Farooqui, Finance Secretary, Mehtab Khan (Daily Ausaf), Waseem Ahmed (Daily Awam, Quetta), Dr Jabbar Khattak (Daily Awami Awaz), Arshad A Zuberi (D/Business Recorder), Abdul Rashid Ghazi (D/Business Report), Siddiq Baloch (D/Balochistan Express), Syed Faseih Iqbal (D/Balochistan Times), Fauzia Shaheen (M/Dastak), Najamuddin Sheikh (D/Deyanat), Qudsia K. Khan (D/Finance Post), Sharif Farooq (Daily Jihad), Javed Mehr Shamsi (D/Kaleem), Muhammad Aslam Kazi (D/Kawish), Mian Akbar Ali (D/Khabrain), Aamir Mahmood (M/Kiran), Arif Nizami (D/Nawa-I-Waqt/The Nation), Mushtaq A Qureshi (M/Naey Ufaq), S.M. Munir Jillani (D/Paigham), Waqar Yousuf Azeemi (M/Roohani Digest), Khushnood Ali Khan (D/Sahafat) and Riaz Ahmed Mansuri (M/The Cricketer).
Source: The News