CPNE to resist gagging of Press
ISLAMABAD: A meeting of Standing Committee of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) chaired by CPNE President Syed Faseeh Iqbal made it clear CPNE with help of civil society would resist all steps aimed at gagging press. It discussed government-press relations, law and order, some incidents faced by editors, situation in Balochistan, FATA and need for transparent polls. In a resolution, it expressed concern that government despite claims of believing in press freedom was trying to make special laws for press like draft National Media Policy & Press Regulatory Authority. An earlier emergency meeting of CPNE Standing Committee rejected it, as it had principled stance against special laws aimed at restraining press freedom.
CPNE would continue to struggle that normal laws should apply in newspapers and periodicals. After strong protest of CPNE, APNS, and debate in Standing Committee of Senate, Information Minister told Standing Committee of Senate that government did not want to set up Press Regulatory Authority. “We are not satisfied with this guarantee and demand this should be given formally by Cabinet and President so that all apprehensions regarding attack on press freedom could end, cordial and confident relations between the government and media could be developed,” resolution added.
It hoped government would also withdraw draft of National Media Policy, which was ostensibly formed for electronic media but also targeted print media. Neither stakeholders were taken into confidence while making draft nor requirements of press freedom taken care of. CPNE with help of society would strongly resist all steps aimed at restraining press freedom. In another resolution, alarming incidents faced by CPNE Joint Secretary Syed Muhammad Munir Jillani and Editor Khushnood Ali Khan were strongly condemned, and government asked to arrest culprits at earliest and try them as per law.
It showed concern over deterioration of law and order that even editors were not safe from anti-social elements. It demanded that besides provincial governments, federal government should also play a proactive role in maintaining law and order, as in all civilised countries protection of life, property and honour of citizens was considered basic responsibility of government.
CPNE Standing Committee vowed editors will continue to discharge responsibility of saying real situation in Balochistan & FATA. The society had given role to press for safeguarding national and public interests and it would continue to highlight its aspirations to government so that avenues of reforms could be created and mutual confidence further developed.
By another resolution, Committee stressing on national solidarity and provincial harmony demanded to make conducive environment in which transparent elections could be held. For this purpose leadership of political parties having roots in masses, now abroad for various reasons, be allowed to return and freely take part in elections.
It noted press could play important role in telling masses of real issues and raise awareness among them. The representatives of print and electronic media organisations were appealed to highlight national unity and provincial harmony in positive manner, besides pointing out negative elements creating rifts and distances.
It also noted that President Musharraf in address to nation on October 16, 1999 included forging provincial harmony his top priority, but recently he admitted distance among provinces had further increased. It felt instead of unwarranted use of national institutions, provincial harmony be highlighted by widening scope of dialogue and consultation.
Source: Business Recorder