Top media bodies decry denial of people’s right to information

Members of the Quetta Union of Journalists protest against the arrest of journalists on the call of the Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), at the Quetta press club on January 26, 2023. — PPI
  • Say coverage ban is tantamount to denying right to information.
  • Newspapers, news channels facing several challenges, they say.
  • Media organisations demand CJP, PM take notice of the situation.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have expressed concern over denying the people right to information by suppressing the freedom of press.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the media organisations regretted the decisions of court banning coverage of important cases including the cipher case. They said the restraint was surprising.

They said the coverage ban was nothing more than denying the right of people to information. “The newspapers and news channels are facing several challenges including pressure from State institutions, illegal and undeclared censorship, insistence upon propagation of material of liking and ban on coverage of political activities and court proceedings”, they said.

They said that in this suffocating environment, judiciary was the only hope for relief, and added the situation would worsen if relief was not granted. An environment of fear has been created by the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (Pemra) and the State institutions while illegal and undeclared restrictions are imposed every now and then, which in unacceptable, the statement maintained.

The media organisations demanded Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Caretaker PM take notice of the situation and take every possible action to ensure freedom of expression. They vowed to do whatever is needed for the press freedom and all possible legal steps would be taken for the cause. Consultations with other stakeholders were being started, they said.

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