Stand against monopolist our right: Zardari
Asks how a single person can be given ads; APNS body should decide about biggest channel
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that it is our right to take a stand against a monopolist because how is it possible that a single person is given all advertisements.
Speaking at the 21st All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Awards distribution ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Monday, he said a referee should be appointed to decide which TV channel in Pakistan was most widely viewed. He said the APNS should establish a mechanism or institution to decide which TV channel was widely viewed, regardless to which newspaper or group this channel belonged.
APP adds: He said the government did not want a clash of institutions and deemed that ‘democracy is the best revenge’. He said: “We strengthened the institutions by giving more powers to parliament and we are willing to work and fight for a better democracy”.
The president said the PPP had not adopted the path of aggression after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto because it could have threatened institutions. “I am here for a larger cause, to fight a mindset, which is definitely going to harm our coming generations if not fought now,” he added.
He said: “We will have to take this challenge. It is the mindset which took away Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and thousands of Pakistanis. We are not against seminaries but we are against the mindset”.
The president said the federation would file a reference in the Supreme Court to revisit the judgment of the ‘judicial murder’ of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to get the case of the ‘judicial murder’ of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto reopened,Â” he added. Zardari said: “It is in the interest of democracy and we do not ask anybody to be punished”. He said the first PPP government of Benazir Bhutto in 1988 had put the country on the road to democracy and ensured freedom of the press. “She lifted a ban on the import of printing paper and made it free for everybody,” he added.
He said Benazir had introduced SPTN, CNN, BBC, optic-fibre, which were revolutionary ideas in those days and the government did not use it for personal propaganda or projection but only used it for information and entertainment.
“She wanted to open up Pakistan,” the president said, adding the PPP was never afraid of criticism and wanted to give more freedom of expression to the people.
He invited the elders, media and younger generation for a dialogue, adding it was the only way for the resolution of problems. The president asked the APNS to set up a body for rationalising the distribution of advertisements to the media. Later, President Zardari gave away awards to the APNS members, journalists and advertising agencies for achievements in their respective fields.
He gave away life-time achievement awards to senior members of APNS, Majid Nizami, chief editor, Nawa-e-Waqt group of publication; Syed Faseih Iqbal, publisher/chief editor, Daily Balochistan Times/Daily Zamana; Sharif Farooq, publisher/ chief editor of Daily Jehad, Mustafa Sadiq, publisher/chief editor of Daily Wifaq, Mahmoodul Aziz, Chief Editor Monthly Pictorial News Review, Masudah M Ahmed, publisher, Monthly Teenager, Prof SB Hassan, Publisher, Monthly Investment and Marketing.
The address of welcome was presented by APNS President Hameed Haroon. Journalists awards in the respective categories were given to Ms Ayesha Siddiqa, Monthly Newsline for best investigative report, Talib Qizilbash, Monthly Newsline for best investigative report, Razia Fareed, the daily Jang for best investigative report (environmental/conservation gender), Huma Yousuf, Daily Dawn for best column award in English, Yasir Pirzada, the daily Jang for best column award in Urdu, Manzoor Mirani, Daily Kawish for best column (regional language), Maheen Bashir Adamjee and Ms Zara Farooqui, for best feature(English/jointly), Ghulam Mohiuddin, the daily Jang for best feature in Urdu, Humerah Noor, Ibrat Magazine for best feature award (regional language), Abdul Karim Rathore, Daily The News for best cartoon and Shafiq Awan, Daily Times for best photograph.
In the advertising field, Inam Akbar, Midas was awarded for best business performance, Ch Irshad for client performance, Sohail Kisat for best newspaper advertisement, Shaikh Imran Irshad for best public service campaign for Aman ki Asha, Jamil Baig, Ali Mandviwala and Imran Sayyed. The president congratulated the recepients for the their achievements.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Monday that the Pakistan People’s Party believed in strengthening institutions, as strong institutions were a guarantee for a stable democracy.
Speaking at a reception hosted in honour of members of the APNS, she expressed the resolve that government would work for the restructuring of institutions.
“There is a need to carry out institutional restructuring for filling the gaps and the process of this restructuring has been started where it is necessary,” she said.
Highlighting the problems faced by APNS, the minister said the Press Council was yet to have a chairman and for the first time the present government was pursuing to bring a non-political, uncontroversial and best person for this seat.
About media policies, she emphasised to change media policies as these should be changed with the passage of time.
“There is no harm in transforming policies when parameters and requirements are changing in order to overcome the problems faced by this sector,” she added.
Hameed Haroon, APNS president, in his address thanked the minister for being vibrant and enthusiastic about solving their problems. “We are glad to see that the minister is well aware that the old system could not prevail any more and she is willing to take pro-active steps in this regard,” he added. He also appreciated the construction of the Media University in Islamabad.
Source: The News