CPNE, APNS reject media courts plan


ISLAMABAD, (DNA) – The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), while expressing serious concerns on the announcement of media courts made by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, has rejected the proposal.In a statement issued on Wednesday, CPNE President Arif Nizami and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak said the CPNE stands against any kind of discriminatory legislation and would oppose discriminatory media law at all forums.

The CPNE had already rejected the draft of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority.

“Press Council of Pakistan, Pemra’s Commission of Complaints, Wage Board Implementation Tribunal and other laws and forums are very much there for resolution of such conflicts and issues,” added the statement.

CPNE office-bearers said formation of media courts is a discriminatory step and such move will be considered an attack on media freedom and tantamount to increasing pressure on the media and journalists.

They observed that the government should extend its efforts for strengthening democratic culture, media freedom and right to expression through their acts instead of creating obstacles for smooth functioning of the media.

They suggested the government to take measures for the protection of media freedom, including fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.

“Pakistani media is already facing immense direct and indirect pressures these days and it is the duty of the government to take measures for easing the ongoing pressures whereas the affairs of media should be dealt with as per existing laws,” they added.

They demanded that the government withdraw the announcement of discriminatory media courts at its earliest.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) strongly rejected the media courts as proposed by the PM’s aide.

President Hameed Haroon and Secretary General Sarmad Ali in a joint statement have strongly criticised the proposal of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan to establish media courts in the country.

They stated that the media is already braving strong pressures in the form of press advices and measures of intimidation from ruling quarters, which is tantamount to undeclared censorship.

The proposed media courts would be an added and institutionalised lever for arm-twisting of media and reflects the mindset of present power centre that intends to curb voices of dissent by all means.

The APNS office-bearers pointed out that in the presence of dispute and complaints resolution forum like Press Council of Pakistan and Pemra there was no justification to form special courts for media.

They urged upon the federal government to withdraw the proposal of media courts forthwith if it does not intend to strangulate the media in the country.

The APNS reiterates its resolve to protect freedoms of the press and expression in the country and continue to perform the role of watchdog of the rights of people of Pakistan.