KARACHI: The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has expressed concern over unannounced raids on newspaper and printing houses across the country by staff of the Federal Information Ministry and some individuals, terming such activities as unethical and an attempt to harass the print media.
Newspaper offices and their printing houses in all provinces are taking precautionary measures during the long lockdown from the corona outbreak, while news outlets are working with extremely low attendance of staff.
The Federal Ministry of Information should take all stakeholders, including CPNE, into confidence in the aforesaid activities and refrain from entering the news outlets in the style of raids without prior notice and permission as all the media outlets have special security arrangements on the instructions of the Federal Ministry of Information and security agencies to prevent any possible terrorist attacks on the news outlets.
In the name of verifying circulation of the newspapers, such raids tantamount to harass the media. Any new system for verification of circulation of newspapers should be evolved with taking into confidence and consultations of all stakeholders, including CPNE.
This was stated at an emergent meeting of CPNE office bearers and chairmen of provincial committees through a video link chaired by CPNE President Arif Nizami. The recent government raids on newspapers office and printing presses were discussed in detail. The meeting said that due to precautionary measures against coronavirus, most of the staff in the news outlets have been detailed to work from their homes, while the newspapers particularly local & regional newspapers across the country are facing severe economic losses which need to be assisted by the government. Hence the recent series of raids on the printing press should be stopped immediately. Moreover the fair, transparent and widespread and judicious distribution of government advertisements and immediate payment of dues to the newspapers should be ensured.
The meeting also observed that newspaper managements are being harassed by issuing unnecessary notices by various regional offices of PID for reclaiming the already submitted documents.
The meeting called on the government to stop the unannounced raids on newspapers and printing presses for at least a year in view of the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic, during which the government and newspapers, including local newspapers, may collaborate to formulate a transparent system for verifying and certifying the genuine newspapers. The meeting also emphasized on fair, judicious, equitable, inclusive and transparent distribution of government advertisements in which local & regional newspapers are not overlooked.
The meeting was attended by CPNE President Arif Nizami, General Secretary Dr Jabbar Khattak, former secretary general Ejaz-ul-Haq, Vice President Sardar Khan Niazi, Vice President Punjab Irshad Ahmed Arif, Vice President Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Hafiz Sanaullah Khan, Deputy Secretary General Amir Mahmood, Finance Secretary Hamid Hussain Abidi, Information Secretary Abdul Rehman Mangrio, Sindh Committee Chairman Ghulam Nabi Chandio, Punjab Committee Chairman Muhammad Haider Amin, Deputy Chairman Ayaz Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Committee Chairman Tahir Farooq and Deputy Chairman Balochistan Committee Arif Baloch.