=> ISLAMABD-Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PF
ISLAMABD-Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) launched Tuesday its “Free Media for Fair Polls” signature campaign here at a ceremony held at the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club.
Besides senior journalists of twin cities, the ceremony was attended by Mr. Mazhar Abbas, Secretary General PFUJ, Mr. Afzal Butt, President Rawalpindi/Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and Mr. Iqbal Sajid, General Secretary RIUJ.
In a press statement Mr. Mazhar Abbas has urged the journalists, lawyers, members of civil society, politicians and students to actively participate in the PFUJ signature campaign so as to pressurize the government to hold fair, free and transparent elections.
He rejected the claim of President Pervez Musharraf and the interim government that media is free and challenged that even those private TV channels, which are on air, were not allowed to report the events freely.
Ã´It is PFUJ’s firm belief that only free and vibrant media can play the role of an effective watchdog to check irregularities, and expose alleged pre-poll rigging and misuse of powers by the officials, candidate or parties during the course of elections.
He demanded that in order to ensure this, all restrictions on media be lifted and judiciary made independent to give relief to the aggrieved parties and also to ensure rule of law in the country.
Mazhar Abbas said media cannot be free without acceptance of the following PFUJ demands:-
1) Complete withdrawal of the amended Registration of Printing and Publication Ordinance, RPPO-2007, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, PEMRA-2007.
2) Unconditional withdrawal of ban on GEO-TV and GEO-Super.
3) Lifting of ban on live coverage, live telephone calls.
4) Channels’ management is allowed to depute banned anchors on other assignments like reporting. At present they are not even allowed to do any work.
5) Stopping raids on the office of the FM radio and confiscating equipments without legal authority.
6) Print and electronic media must be allowed free access during the forthcoming elections.
7) Cable operators should not be allowed to “pick and choose” or put channels off the air without any written directives.
8) Threats to cable operators from the local police and PEMRA officials should be stopped.
9) Government must follow the legal course if they have any complaint against any newspaper or TV channel instead of issuing illegal and verbal orders.
10) Stop Press Advice, which has become a regular feature of PEMRA and Information Ministry as most recently used during the coverage of Lahore Bomb Blast.
Source: The Nation