LAHORE: The Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) in its emergent meeting held at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal in Lahore unanimously declared that closure of any media house or cancellation of licence or declaration of any channel or publication will not be acceptable as it is not in the national interest. Any such action will be tantamount to a grave crisis and will do irreparable harm to the democratic Pakistan, says a press release on Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by President of CPNE Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami. The CPNE further resolved that sanctity of defence as well as media institutions is equally important as both are national institutions. It was further resolved that Pakistan armed forces and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are our vital national institutions and it is our collective responsibility to defend and safeguard their honour and dignity.
The meeting called upon all the media houses to show responsibility while reporting/commenting about these vital security organisations. It also discussed at length the recent reference filed by the Ministry of Defence with Pemra and expressed satisfaction that the government and aggrieved national institutions had taken a legal course instead of taking an arbitrary decision. However, the meeting expressed deep concerns over the present constitution of Pemra and showed apprehensions regarding its ability to deliver a just and fair decision, due to its ad-hoc structure.
The meeting strongly condemned the attack on senior journalist Hamid Mir and demanded that the government should take immediate and swift action to ensure the safety of all the media persons associated with national media organisations.
The meeting also declared that the right to freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and the state should provide adequate protection to journalists against life threats emanating from any quarter. The meeting appreciated the federal and Sindh governments’ decision to constitute a Judicial Commission and Joint Investigation Team for the investigation of this attack and expressed the hope that perpetrators would be brought to justice without any fear or favour.
The meeting appealed to all the media organisations, including APNS, PBA and PFUJ, to unite at this hour of need and subside the tensions between different media organisations. It further requested these organisations to play their role in creating harmony and solidarity among the media houses and work together for the safety and protection of press freedom and journalists.
The meeting also expressed concerns over reports of life threats to senior journalist Iftikhar Ahmad and other media persons and demanded that the government should take immediate action in this regard.
The meeting was attended by Arif Nizami (Pakistan Today), Shaheen Qureshi (VP CPNE, Jang Group), Imtiaz Alam (South Asia Journal), Salman Ghani (Daily Dunya), Umer Shami (Daily Pakistan), Khalid Qayyum (Daily Express), Mumtaz Tahir (Daily Aftab), Sajjad Bukhari (Daily AbTak), Naveed Chaudhry (Daily City 42), Baidar Sarmadi (Daily Front), Baidar Bakht Butt (Daily Jang), Hafiz Iqbal (Daily Insaf), Khawaja Munawarul Hasan (Daily Musawat), Khalid Farooqi (Daily Awaz), Zulfiqar Lodhi (Daily Tijarat), Asghar Ali ( Daily Jurrat), Siddique Asghar (The News), Adeel Niaz (Jahangir Times), Asad Kashif, Adeeb Jawadani (Monthly Moon Digest), Munir Ahmad Naulakha (Musawwar International) and Taufique Rehman (Daily Saadat).