KARACHI: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called upon Pakistani authorities to stop withholding government advertisements to the Dawn and Jang media groups and grant ads to media outlets “without regard for their editorial stances”.
Citing news reports and information from the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the CPJ noted in a statement on Monday that the Centre and governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab had suspended the practice of releasing ads to the two media groups since January, according to a Dawn.com report.
“The Pakistani government’s selective ban on placing advertisements with Dawn and Jang, two prominent and independent news organisations, amounts to a crude form of retaliation,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator. “Using government advertising as a cudgel to punish and reward news outlets based on their editorial stance in this way is incompatible with Pakistan’s constitutional guarantee of press freedom and must come to an end immediately.”
The CPJ, an independent organisation working to promote press freedom worldwide, while quoting news reports said that Prime Minister Imran Khan in a speech last month had singled out the Dawn and Jang media groups, accusing them of “publishing false stories” that allegedly misrepresented his statements and his official visit to China.