Islamabad—Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday showed statesmanship and political maturity by directing the ministry to remove an English newspaper journalist Cyril Almeida from the Exit Control List (ECL). Reiterating full support to freedom of press and independence of media and as a good-will gesture, the Interior Minister ordered removal of the name of journalist from Exit Control List who had according to the government, filed ‘inaccurate and fabricated’ news item about national security meeting.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan gave these directions to his ministry after a meeting with the representatives of All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE).
The APNS and CPNE delegation consisted of Sarmad Ali, President APNS, Zia Shahid, President CPNE, Umar Shami, Secretary General APNS, Aijaz Ul Haq, Secretary General CPNE and senior journalists Arif Nizami and Mujeeb ur Rahman Shami.
Nisar, however, made it clear that the removal of the journalist’s name would in no way affect the ongoing inquiry into the matter which would meet its logical conclusion.
Minister for Information, Broadcasting & NH Pervaiz Rasheed and Principal Information Officer Rao Tehsin Ali Khan were also present in the meeting.
Talking to the delegation the Interior Minister reiterated his call that independent media must play its role not only towards safeguarding national interests and security but also to counter negative propaganda of enemies of the state.
Unverified and speculative news items citing unnamed sources on national security issues must be avoided that crosses ethical boundaries of responsible journalism.
Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid said that the government had firm belief in freedom of press and had proved it time and again that it cannot compromise on it.