CPNE criticise minsiter’s statement
Pakistan’s national editors’ body, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), has strongly criticised a statement by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in which he warned media outlets against “glorifying terrorists” and said that anyone seen to be speaking on behalf of terrorists would be “considered a terrorist.”
Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar on October 12, 2004, the information minister said that those who portray terrorists as heroes could be tried under the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2001, which stipulates that it is an offence for individuals and media organisations to “project” persons convicted for terrorist acts or for religious sectarianism.
A press release by the CPNE’s spokesperson called the warning of action under the Anti-Terrorism Act a serious threat to press freedom and said that Pakistani newspapers perform their professional obligations and patriotic duty by providing correct information and news to the masses.
The CPNE spokesperson added that one of the newspapers’ primary responsibilities is to inform the masses of events happening within the country as well as the region.
However, he added that if the government thinks its image is being tarnished, it should try to better its governance rather than blaming the media or restricting its coverage of events.