KARACHI - All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) has elected Sarmad Ali as its president, Rameeza Majid Nizami, senior vice president, Mumtaz A Tahir, vice president, Umer Mujib Shami, sectary general, SM Munir Jilani, joint sectary and Syed Ali Hasan Naqvi, finance sectary for 2016-17.

The annual general council meeting, held under the chairmanship of President Hameed Haroon, unanimously approved the reports of the executive committee for the preceding year and annual accounts of the society.

The APNS council considered the government-press relations, the state of newspaper industry and the problems faced by member publications. The general council, at a special resolution, noted that the federal and the provincial governments were denying ads to majority of genuine publications while the major part of advertising budget had been diverted to electronic media. The members who gathered from across the country said the government must allocate a fixed share in the advertising budgets for print media. They demanded transparency in the release of ads by the government and reiterated that data should be released on the website of the PID and the provincial information departments.

The general council, in another resolution, reiterated the regional quota should be strictly implemented and no publications other than regional should be allocated government advertisements from this quota. The members also asked the executive committee to take up the demand of minimum quota for APNS members with the authorities concerned.

The members based in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have also reported to the Council that the Information Departments of the provinces have adopted discriminatory approach while releasing government advertisements which are being distributed to irregular publications while the senior and genuine publications were being completely ignored. This has resulted in the acute financial crunch to the newspapers industry in the province.

The APNS council also noted that the print media share in the campaign launched by the federal government was consistently decreasing, which had considerably slashed advertising in newspapers, causing survival issue for smaller and regional publications. The council expressed its concern that the notification of approved rate increase had been pending for over three years, urging the Ministry of Information to honour its commitments and issue the same without any further delay.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Archives Maula Bux Chandio and others, in their separate statements, congratulated the newly-elected office-bearers of APNS and hoped Pakistan’s premier media body would play its role in advancing democratic traditions and strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

Bilawal said PPP and journalist community had fought dictatorial forces together in the past and offered sacrifices shoulder to shoulder in the nation’s struggle for restoration of democracy. He pledged PPP would continue to stand by an independent media and considered its role as pivotal for the development of a democratic society. The PPP chairman also assured them of full cooperation from his party in future, too.

ZARDARI FELICITATES APNS OFFICEBEARERS

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: PPPP chief Asif Ali Zardari yesterday felicitated Sarmad Ali on his election as President All Pakistan Newspapers Society.

In his message, the former President said Sarmad Ali’s election to the office of President of the APNS was a demonstration of the trust of the journalists community in his leadership.

Zardari said the press had played a pivotal role in upholding freedom of expression and expressed the hope that under his leadership the APNS will continue to make great strides towards a tolerant and plural press.

The former president also asked the President-elect of APNS to convey his felicitations to other elected office bearers.