KARACHI: Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has turned down the merger of all media regulatory bodies approved by the federal cabinet on Thursday to form the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) that would keep a check on print, digital and electronic media.
In a joint press statement, CPNE President Arif Nizami, Senior Vice President Imtinan Shahid and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak described it as an attempt to curb freedom of print media and deprive the media community of its fundamental right.
“The CPNE leadership is firm to say that any step taken or law enforced in the name of media regulation designed to control media would never be supported and welcomed in Pakistan,” the statement read.
They said that CPNE stood its ground that there was a dire need to improve laws pertaining to print media in accordance with constitutional needs as well as the wishes and aspirations of the people. “The council is of the view that consultation with stakeholders, including editors, journalists and publishers, is needed prior to any media legislation and decision making.”
It is the firm and clear stand of CPNE that there is absolutely no need of special legislation for print media which, they said, should be allowed to go ahead freely under the normal laws of the country.
They recalled that whatever meager freedom was in practice in the country was achieved as the result of long-standing struggle and sacrifices of the people of Pakistan, particularly the democratic forces, political workers, civil society and journalists.
“Each category of media, including print, electronic and digital, has a different status, process and issues; and handling of each category under a single law is to negate the ground realities.”