APNS condemns govt attempts to curtail media independence

Staff Reporter

“ The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) strongly lamented the perpetual efforts of the Federal Government to curtail the independence of the media, the latest being the proposed PMDA which, in the opinion of the APNS Executive Committee, is intended to strangulate and control the entire media of the country.

The Executive Committee of the APNS at its meeting held at Karachi on September 09, 2021 chaired by the President, APNS, Mr. Sarmad Ali was briefed by the President on different meetings with the stakeholders and the Federal Government on the establishment of Pakistan Media Development Authority.

The members unanimously rejected the proposal and termed it as an attempt to tighten the Federal Government control over the media from one platform.

The proposed PMDA appears as extension of PEMRA to all media with more regimental provisions as subjugate and take over the independence of free media.

The Executive Committee further stated that the proposal was unconstitutional as any Federal legislation to regulate print media is beyond the power of parliament after the 18th constitutional amendment.

The APNS out-rightly rejected the proposal to make it mandatory for all types of media to obtain licenses and renewal of registration.

The proposal envisages the concept of media tribunal whose members were to be appointed by the Federal Government which is a form of direct control over the media.

The Concept is contrary to the very notion of the justice and a fair hearing as it denies the right of appeal in the high courts.

The tribunals have been authorized with the punishment up to 03 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs.25 million. The Committee observed that the Federal Government intends to tighten its control on media at large. The committee also noted that unless the proposed law to establish the PMDA is shared with stakeholders, no meaningful consultation was possible.

The Executive Committee considered the report of Advertising Committee and approved M/s. Advertising & Business Consultants (Pvt.) Ltd, Peshawar for confirmation of accreditation. M/s. Marcom (Pvt.) Ltd, Islamabad and M/s. Wings Media (Pvt) Ltd , Lahore were granted provisional accreditation. The Committee also approved the restructuring of M/s. Zenith Advertising Communication (Pvt.) Ltd, Karachi.

The members offered fateha on the sad demise of Mr. Arif Nizami, a veteran editor and journalist, Mrs. Shamim Akhtar wife of Mr. Ghulam Akbar and mother of Mr. Inam Akbar and Mr. Nadeem Akbar. Sahibzada Zia-ur-Rahman Shami, elder brother of Mr. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, Chief Editor, Daily Pakistan, Lahore and aunt of Ms. Fauzia Shaheen, publisher, Monthly Dastak, Karachi. The following attended the meeting: Sarmad Ali, President, Shahab Zuberi, Vice President, Fauzia Shaheen (Monthly Dastak), Najamuddin Sheikh (Daily Deyanat), Muhammad Younus Mehar (Daily Halchal), Adnan Faisal (Daily Jiddat, Karachi), Javed Mehr Shamsi (Daily Kaleem), Muhammad Aslam Leghari (Daily Kawish), Muhammad Manzoor Rana (Daily Mashriq, Quetta), Zahida Abbasi (Daily Nau Sijj), S.M. Munir Jilani (Daily Paigham), Humayun Gulzar (Daily Sayadat) and Nasir Daad Baloch (Daily Sindh Sujaag) The following attended the meeting on Zoom: Jamil Athar, Sr. Vice President, Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani and Secretary General, Mohsin Bilal.

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