KARACHI: The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors’ (CPNE) standing committee unanimously rejected the proposal of establishment of media tribunals and warned the government to refrain from introducing such “dictatorial and black laws”.
This was observed during Thursday’s meeting and subsequent dialogue held on media tribunals at CPNE’s Karachi secretariat, which was attended by senior editors from all over Pakistan and the representatives of political parties.
The standing committee observed that any attempt to curb media would not be accepted and extreme action would be taken and government would be responsible for it. “CPNE will issue detailed handout on Friday regarding future strategy,” said the statement.
CPNE meeting resolved that all stakeholders, including All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and others, would be consulted and, joint struggle would be launched against “discriminatory” media tribunals.
CPNE President Arif Nizami said that discriminatory tribunals were not acceptable in any way as such an idea is contrary to the fundamentals of media freedom as well as democracy.
“Such attempts will be considered attacks on media freedom and a part of continued efforts to curb press freedom, which will be resisted,” he further added.
He said that the media industry was enthusiastic that a prime minister who had come through political process would definitely take steps for media freedom but unfortunately their expectations did not come true.
“We got media freedom after a long struggle and many sacrifices, so it could not be compromised any way,” Nizami observed.
He told the meeting that all stakeholders, including APNS, PBA, PFUJ, would be contacted for the cause of media freedom and he was confident that discriminatory idea of media tribunals would be taken back by the government.
Sindh Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had already rejected media courts, therefore, everyone should remind the prime minister that such acts were against media freedom as “he always understands things at a later stage”.
She said that PPP would oppose such move in parliament because PPP believes in democracy and free press.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member of Sindh Assembly Jamal Siddiqui observed that PTI believed in democracy and media freedom and they would continue supporting free press.
He said that if there were weaknesses in proposed media tribunals then CPNE should share their recommendations and those would be incorporated but “at some point we need some regulations”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sindh President Shah Muhammad Shah, in his hard words, remarked that the present government was worse than martial laws and its civilian like dictatorship.
He said that PML-N would stand for media freedom and would oppose media tribunals at all forums, including the parliament.
CPNE Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak said that discriminatory laws should be challenged at all forums and CPNE would ally with all stakeholders for the elimination of media tribunals.
He said that there will be no compromise on media freedom and members of parliament should fulfil their duty to oppose such discriminatory laws.