There is no place for an Ayub era anachronism
The private sector ending the monopoly of the state over print and electronic media, the country has witnessed an efflorescence of newspapers and TV channels. The newspapers as well as private TV networks have contributed to the growth of political and social consciousness. The print media has made reading interesting by adding coloured pictures, cartoons and news items with inputs. While the race to be the first to report has at times led to howlers, it has nevertheless contributed to the lifting of the curtain on bad performance and exposure of scams. Newspaper columns have brought discussions on constitutional issues so far confined to the legal community to the common man contributing to a better understanding of the ongoing debates. In the midst of this comes the report of an attempt to undo what has been achieved through great sacrifices by the journalist community and courageous media houses.
It appears that the exposure of those in authority have embarrassed the sacred cows that want them to be seen as totally flawless. The evidence suggests that the draft of a law to chain the media was to be enacted as an Ordinance in haste. It was to be taken up by the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) as item eighth on the agenda of its sitting on Monday.
In the wake of strongly worded condemnations from media persons, politicians and rights activists, Marriyum Aurangzeb initially denied any knowledge of the author of the draft and promised an enquiry. If the ignorance is genuine, it would indicate she is devoting most of her time these days to activities other than those related to her job. It appears that there are individuals who want to put the media in chains. The least one expects from the information minister is that she would find where this draft emanated from all of a sudden and at whose behest. The inquiry that she promised to order should be conducted swiftly and its findings made public.