CPNE to form Media Complaint Commission -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

CPNE to form Media Complaint Commission

KARACHI – The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) rejected the contents of the letter of Information Ministry addressed to CPNE at its Standing Committee meeting on Thursday and decided to go ahead with the formation of its Media Complaint Commission of its own, due to the continued absence of the Press Council as mandated under law.

The meeting presided over by Arif Nizami, President of the CPNE, formed a committee headed by its Secretary General, Dr Jabbar Khattak, to finalise the arrangements for the formal launching of the CPNE Media Complaint Commission.

The commission will receive, hear and decided upon complaints from different sections of the society and organisations, seeking redressal against any material published in newspapers.

It will also hear complaints from newspapers against the various pressure groups and the governments at the federal and provincial levels, which intended to influence, affect and undermine the freedom of information and its exercise by the newspapers in the country.

The meeting deliberated at length on the letter from Federal Ministry of Information addressed to the president of the CPNE on the subject of certain news reports and interviews of persons related with the current campaign against terrorism in the country.

The meeting out rightly rejected the letter terming it uncalled for.

The meeting maintained that the members of the CPNE have always kept the interest and good of the country, as their foremost objective, as much as the government or any other party.

They have always served the cause of democracy and the strengthening of democratic institutions in the country.

The newspapers have strongly condemned all forms of terrorism and have urged upon the people to beware of the elements that seek to fan hatred and venom.

Therefore, the CPNE Standing Committee rejected the letter maintaining that it was uncalled for and in violation of all the norms of freedom of information and democratic practices.

The meeting also discussed the statement of the Federal Information Minister on the subject of news reporting in the newspapers in the backdrop of recent operations and regretted the ‘veiled threat’ carried therein of possible government action infringing on press freedom.

The meeting reminded the government that in the past also all such threats had produced counterproductive results and regretted that the government and the minister had not learnt any lesson from the past mistakes.

It reiterated its resolve to defend press freedom and continue to campaign for freedom of the press in the face of all such threats.

The CPNE Standing Committee also heard details of the pressures being exerted on newspapers in Balochistan province, seeking to influence their reporting of events and editorial policies.

It rejected all such attempts as ‘blatant violation of guarantees on press freedom enshrined in the constitution and so often claimed by the government functionaries before international and national gatherings of importance’.

The meeting also decided to set up a Press Freedom Monitoring Desk at the CPNE Secretariat to prepare regular periodical reports for the Standing Committee of the CPNE on the violations along with recommendations for action.

Source: The News

Date:10/22/2004