The freedom of media and information is in jeopardy as some authorities are making the distribution of some of the newspapers difficult. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has rightly demanded Nasirul Mulk, the caretaker Prime Minister (PM) and Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to intervene. Since the matter is of grave concern, the two heads should look into the issue and order an investigation.

It is needless to say that not allowing distribution of any newspaper is a violation of constitutional guarantees provided under “Fundamental Rights” chapter of the constitution. On the one hand, such coercive measure is the curtailment of “freedom of the press”, on the other hand, it also goes in violation of the right of the public to get information on all matters of public importance. It is just few days ago that a story has been published in “Dawn” over the issue. Otherwise, people knew it before that hawkers and sales agent are not allowed in cantonment areas of the country to distribute copies of "Dawn" and "The News".

What is puzzling is lack of action by the CJP over such violations of constitutional rights of the citizens. It is beyond comprehension that honourable CJP who actively takes suo motu notices of slightest violations forgo such a violation. Respected CJP must take note of these violations, which are illegal and unconstitutional. If he fails to protect the constitution, the document will corrode and the Fundamental Rights will lose its significance. Today it is article 19; tomorrow it can be any other article vulnerable to get violated in the hands of the violators.

Likewise, the PM also needs to make it incumbent upon his office to look into the matter and stop those who are involved in such practices. The fact that the hawkers and sales agents are threatened, harassed and beaten to prevent them from distributing copies of these newspapers means that the authorities who are involved in such coercive measure too know it well that they lack legal reasons for their actions. Otherwise, they would have issued a statement citing any particular law to veil their illegal and unconstitutional activities.

It is high time for heads of the two organs of the state to come together in protecting the freedom of press and public’s right to information. The successful attempts to stop the circulation of newspapers are acts of vandalism. If the state cannot protect people’s rights from one of its institution’s might, then it is failing its population. The state should restrain the violators. Failing to restrict the violators will then obligate people to agitate against the attempts of gaging free press.