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January 27, 2019

Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority to have disastrous impact: APNS

National

 
January 27, 2019

KARACHI: The APNS has strongly deplored the decision of the federal cabinet on the formation of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority, which is unacceptable to the media and the civil society of Pakistan.

Sarmad Ali, Secretary General of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, stated that the Executive Committee of the Society at its meeting held in Lahore under the chairmanship of its Vice President, Mehtab Khan, considered the disastrous impact and consequences of the proposed authority on the media. The members, gathered from across the country, adopted a unanimous resolution wherein formation of the authority was termed as an arbitrary and anti-media measure intended to curb the freedom of press and control the media through a highly centralized authority. The resolution stated that the proposed authority is being constructed on debris of the notorious Press and Publications Ordinance promulgated by the dictatorial regime of General Ayub Khan to strangulate the media. The resolution stated that the PMRA is the worst replica of notorious PPO against which, the media and the democratic forces of the country had waged a protracted struggle and forced the government to repeal the black law. The resolution further stated that the proposed authority is grossly in conflict not only with the Article 19 and 19(a) of the Constitution but also violative of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The members of the Executive Committee reiterated their resolve that the efforts of the present government to subjugate the freedom of press and expression will be vehemently resisted and all available fora will be used and steps taken to press upon the federal government to withdraw the proposed authority and initiate a meaningful dialogue and consultation with the stakeholders to formulate an acceptable media policy.

The Executive Committee authorized the president and secretary general to take all appropriate measures to pursue the government to withdraw the proposed authority in its present form. The members also decided to launch an awareness campaign to sensitize the members of the parliament, political parties, civil society and international media watch organizations on the impact of the proposed authority.

Raja Pervez Ashraf, former prime minister and Central Leader of Pakistan People's Party, attended the meeting on special invitation. The Executive Committee members apprised him of the disastrous impacts of the present government media policy and setting up of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority, which will result in curbing freedom of press and expression. The members requested him to play his role to safeguard, independent and objective media in the country. Raja Pervez Ashraf stated that politics and press are integrated. Curbs on the press are enforced in dictatorial regimes to silent the dissent voice against ani-people policies whereas the democratic dispensation is only possible with a free and viable press. He assured that he will put all best efforts to safeguard the freedom of press and expression.

The Executive Committee approved grant of associate membership to Daily 92 News, Lahore. The members expressed condolence on the sad demise of Mr. Naveed Ghaznavi of M/s. The Circuit (Pvt.) Ltd.

The meeting was attended by the following: Mehtab Khan, Vice President, Sarmad Ali, Secretary General, Bilal Mahmood, Joint Secretary, Mumtaz A. Tahir (Daily Aftab), Rahmat Ali Raazi (Weekly Azm), Hamayun Tariq (D/Business Report), Naveed Chaudhry (D/City42), Syed Akbar Tahir (D/Jasarat), Syed Mumtaz Ahmed Shah (D/Mashriq, Quetta), Sardar Khan Niaza (M/Naya Rukh), Mujib-ur-Rahman Shami (D/Pakistan, Lahore), Gohar Zahid Malik (D/Pakistan Observer), Khushnood Ali Khan (D/Sahafat), Humayun Gulzar (D/Sayadat), Jamil Athar (D/Tijarat, Lhr.) and Shahid Mahmood (D/Titarati Rahber). Mushtaq Ahmed Qureshi (Monthly Naey Ufaq) and Imran Ather (Daily Jurrat) also attended as special observers.