Speakers lambast dictators, admire journalists’ sacrifices for upholding truth
LAHORE: Veteran journalist Hussain Naqi said journalists should report on the facts as to who owns prime lands, developed or agriculture, in Pakistan. He was speaking at a seminar “Challenges to Press Freedom in Pakistan” organized by Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and Lahore Press Club in connection with May 13, 1978 when then military government ordered flogging of some journalists for refusing to toe the official line.
Noted columnist Munnu Bhai, media historian and professor Dr Mehdi Hassan, noted journalist Khawar Naeem Hashmi, PUJ President Shahzad Hussain Butt, LPC President Shahbaz Mian and others also spoke on the occasion.
Former editor of The News, Hussain Naqi highlighted importance of verifying the facts for reporting. Munnu Bhai said freedom of expression is only possible in Pakistan which was envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal but those who are against ideology of Pakistan are champions of Pakistan.
Jahangir Badr said Pakistani journalists sacrificed a lot to achieve whatever freedom of expression they have today and over the years media emerged as a powerful pillar of state. He also said media made great contribution to achieving democracy. He, however, said in today’s democracy a handful of individuals have got hold of means of production in the country and are deciding rates of consumer products.
Khawar Naeem Hashmi said Gen Zia banned a number of newspapers during his dictatorship which rendered hundreds of journalists jobless. He also came hard on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Shahzad Butt came hard on dictators, especially Zia for stopping journalists from writing truth and said the journalist community had never hesitated or would in future to sacrifice for the cherished freedom of expression. He also said the government had played no role vis-à-vis job security of journalists which is unfortunate.