Newspaper employers, journalists’ bodies should amicably solve problems’
KARACHI,January 15,2005:Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that the problems being faced by working journalists,editors and employers of newspaper establishments must be solved amicably, and the representatives of all the parties concerned, including CPNE, APNS and working journalists’ bodies, must put their hands together in this regard.
The government would extend its full cooperation in creating a good atmosphere and assist all the concerned parties in order to solve every problem, including implementation of wage board.
The minister, who was addressing at the inaugural ceremony of ‘Press Freedom Monitoring Desk (PFMD)’, organised by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) at a local hotel on January 14, made it clear that no controversial ‘law or advice’ would be introduced, instead the government would ensure press freedom by removing every hurdle.
He pointed out that the government was unbiased in issuing licenses to private TV channels. He said in 2005 many private channels were being allowed to work and this was a part of the government’s commitment towards freedom of expression and media. He said that some 37 parties had applied and out of them 10 licenses were issued. He said that it was now the responsibility of the media to realise their national obligations and give exact reporting and coverage of political affairs and other events, and discourage negative elements promoting sectarianism and other negative trends among people.
Rashid appreciated the efforts of CPNE to set up the PFMD, while remarking (in a light manner) that such desks were set up in Islamabad in the past, but this was for the first time that a desk namely PFMD was set up in Karachi.
The federal minister further declared that the government would never use ‘ads stoppage tactic’ against newspapers and would issue ads on merit basis. He said that President General Pervez Musharraf himself believed in press freedom and freedom of expression, and that was why he had never taken notice of criticism on rulers. He said that he himself (Rashid) believed in freedom and would welcome serious criticism on the government. However, the media should appreciate the government for its positive actions. He said that his government and he himself was keen on solving the problems of working journalists while giving due respect to every quarter, including editors and newspapers’ employers, without being biased to anyone, as everyone had his separate vote and he (minister) respected every vote and voter.
Earlier, President, CPNE, Arif Nizami; President, PFUJ, Ahfaz-ur Rehman; former governor of Sindh, justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ibraheem; Vice-chairman, Pakistan Bar Council, justice (retd) Rasheed A Rizvi, and CPNE Secretary-General Dr Jabbar Khattak threw light on the issue of press freedom.
Arif Nizami said that it was not a proper forum and occasion to discuss the implementation of wage board issue and it was being taken up by the APNS.
Commenting on the issue of pres council, he maintained that such a council should be established while taking into account all aspects of the framework and working of such council.
Ahfaz-ur Rehman emphasised that the issue of implementation of wage board must be taken into account, as the legitimate rights of employees were being infringed upon. He also criticised negative trends in working journalism, saying it needed more attention and commitment in accomplishing duties on the part of working journalists.
Justice Fakhruddin G Ibraheem stressed that the right of ‘access to information’ could solve many problems and ensure press freedom. He concluded that every controversial law and act creating hurdles in press freedom must be abandoned.
Justice (retd) Rasheed A Rizvi expressed deep concern over the factor of corruption in journalism, saying the representative bodies of working journalists must check corruption, as it gave a bad name to journalism and freedom of press as well.
The Pakistan People’s Party and Alliance for Restoration of Democracy leader, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, and the Jamaat-e-Islami and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal leader, Asadullah Bhutto, were also present on the occasion.
Source: The News