Pakistan Today Editor and senior anchorperson Arif Nizami on Tuesday said that the real objective of the government’s new measures of establishing media tribunals was to pressurise the media into towing the government’s line.
Commenting on the development during his prime time show on Channel 92, Nizami said that Prime Minister Imran Khan needed to realise that he – in his capacity as the President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) – along with other members of the press had devoted years of struggle for media freedom.
He added that it was owing to his efforts as the CPNE president that the draconian Press and Publication Ordinance was brought down.
Under the new regulations, the media would not be allowed to criticise or question any public office holder.
He said that despite Firdous Ashiq Awan’s statement that all major media stakeholders were taken on board, none of those “stakeholders” were mentioned in her statement.
Nizami said that he was not contacted by any government representative regarding the implementation of the new policy despite being the CPNE president. He added that the media was not opposed to regulation but would resist unnecessary pressure.
He said the CPNE is meeting in Karachi on Thursday in which the government’s new measures would be discussed.
Nizami said that media bodies such as the CPNE. Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and press clubs would also be formulating a joint policy to oppose the government’s measures.
He said the media was facing a host of problems. On the one hand, it was having to face prohibitions imposed by the government and on the other hand commercial pressure was being exerted which was causing serious financial hardships to employees and media persons.