Dawn story: Press Council Pakistan urges govt not to insist on disclosure of source

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The Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) in a meeting on Thursday said that a committee formed by the government to investigate Dawn’s story on a high-level security meeting should not insist upon disclosure of the source of information during its probe.

The PCP also unanimously resolved that the government probe committee should not proceed against the newspaper or its staff.

Attendees of the meeting discussed the formation of the probe committee and were of the view that such matters fall within the jurisdiction of the council and should have been brought before it in the event of any grievance, as envisaged in the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance.

PCP Chairman Dr M Salahuddin Mengalon chaired the 13th General Council meeting of the PCP.

Mujibur Rehman Shami, Kazi Asad Abid, Aamer Mahmood, Wamiq Zuberi, Ali Kazi, Anwar Sajdi, Ibrahim Khan, Dr. Shah Jahan Syed, Iqbal Jaffri, Khurshid Tanweer, Nasir Zaidi, and Acting Registrar PCP Ejaz Hussain Baqri attended the meeting.

The PCP chairman is a former advocate general of Balochistan. Other participants of the meeting include senior representatives of publishers and editors, APNS and CPNE, and representatives of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)

The committee has been formed to probe into the publication of Dawn’s story “Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military”, which reported details of a high level civil-military meeting discussing the issue of Pakistan’s banned outfits. After the publication of the story, Cyril Almeida’s—Dawn Staffer—name was added to Exit Control List, upon which government was faced with strong reaction from journalism and civil society. Prime Minsiter Nawaz Sharif’s office had rejected the story thrice; later, Information minister also resigned.

The government earlier this week formed a seven-member inquiry committee to determine the source who leaked information about the high-level meeting between top military and civilian officials to Dawn.