No special laws needed to regulate print media: CPNE

KARACHi:Arif Nizami, president, Imtinan Shahid, senior vice president and Dr. Jabbar Khattak, secretary general of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have expressed their grave concern over speedy headway being made in legislation of controversial Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) in the name of regulating the media, recalling CPNE stand conveyed through press releases, letters and a series of meetings with the federal ministry of information.

In a joint press statement they regretted that CPNE, as yet, received no reply from the government in response of suggestions made by CPNE in this regard.

They pinpointed that such an attitude on the part of the government has sparked discontentment in the media circles throughout the country.

The CPNE leaders said that the government had designed to introduce centralized legislation to pave the way for dealing with iron hand the entire media including print media through one window policy and regulation for print, electronic, digital media and social media.

They said that Ministry of information had sent to CPNE conscript of proposed Pakistan Media Regulator Authority in which, they added, laws of US, Malaysia, India, European Union and Africa have been mentioned despite the fact that these laws cover only radio, television, cable satellite, internet and digital platform whereas there is absolutely no mentioning of print media.

They reiterated the CPNE stand that print media should continue to go ahead with freedom under the normal laws of the country as, they said, there was absolutely no need of bringing the print media under special legal network.

They said that it was nothing but to ignore the ground reality if each category of media including print, electronic and digital is handled under the same law ignoring their nature of work, particular circumstances, problems and procedure.

They vowed that no such law would be acceptable negating the access to information and basic constitutional right. They made it clear that CPNE would vehemently oppose to every attempt to bring the media under unnecessary control in the name regulation.

The CPNE leaders warned the Government that any attempt to control the media through any special legislation would be unpopular and rejected act of the Government and as such would not gain any support of the people. They said that such an act would be undemocratic and unconstitutional and as such be out rightly rejected by the media and freedom loving people.

The CPNE leaders were of the view that an ideal media regulator authority should be answerable to parliament, Supreme Court and High Courts instead of Prime Minister Secretariat, Cabinet Division or Ministry of Information.

They recalled the prolong struggle waged by CPNE, PFUJ, democratic loving political activists and civil society in abolishing the notorious Press and Publication Ordinance.

If government insisting to regulate Electronic Media, Digital Media and Social Media on the basis of frequency and other reasons, they should assure Media fundamental rights like Media Freedom and Right to Information given by Constitution of Pakistan.