Karachi  -   The APNS has strongly deplored the decision of the federal cabinet on the formation of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority calling it unacceptable to the media and the civil society of Pakistan.

In a press release issued on Sunday, Sarmad Ali, Secretary General of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) said their executive committee met in Lahore under the chairmanship of Vice President Mehtab Khan and considered the disastrous impact and consequences of the proposed Authority on the media.

The members gathered from across the country adopted a unanimous resolution wherein formation of the proposed regulatory authority was termed as an arbitrary and anti-media measure intended to curb the freedom of press and control the media through a highly centralised organisation.

The resolution stated that the proposed Authority is being constructed on debris of the notorious Press and Publications Ordinance (PPO) promulgated by the dictatorial regime of General Ayub Khan to strangulate the media.

It stated that the new regulator, PMRA (Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority) is an even worse version of notorious PPO against which the media and the democratic forces of the country had waged a protracted struggle and forced the government to repeal that black law.

The resolution stated that the proposed authority is grossly in conflict not only with the Article 19 and 19(a) of the Constitution but also violates the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The members of APNS executive committee resolved to vehemently resist the government efforts to subjugate the press. They vowed to use all available forums and take steps to press upon the government to withdraw the proposed authority and initiate a meaningful dialogue with the stakeholders to formulate an acceptable media policy.

The executive committee authorised the President and the Secretary General to take all appropriate measures to pursue the government to withdraw the proposed authority in its present form. The members also decided to launch an awareness campaign to sensitise the members of the parliament, political parties, civil society and international media watch organisations on the impact of the proposed authority.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf attended the meeting on special invitation and he was apprised on the disastrous impacts of the present government’s media policy and the damage PMRA would bring to the freedom of press and expression.

The members requested Raja to play his role to safeguard independent and objective media in the country. The PPP leader stated that politics and press are integrated. He said curbs on press are enforced in dictatorial regimes to silent the voice of dissent against anti-people policies whereas the democratic dispensation is only possible with a free and viable press. He assured that he will put in all his best efforts to safeguard the freedom of press and expression.

The executive committee approved grant of associate membership to Daily 92 News, Lahore. The members expressed condolence on the sad demise of Mr Naveed Ghaznavi of M/s The Circuit (Pvt) Ltd.

The meeting was attended by VP Mehtab Khan, Secy Gen Sarmad Ali, Joint Secretary Bilal Mahmood, Mumtaz Tahir (Daily Aftab), Rahmat Ali Raazi (Weekly Azm), Hamayun Tariq (D/Business Report), Naveed Ch (D/City42), Akbar Tahir (D/Jasarat), Mumtaz Shah (D/Mashriq), Sardar Khan (M/Naya Rukh), Mujibur Rahman Shami (D/Pakistan), Gohar Zahid (D/Pakistan Observer), Khushnood Ali (D/Sahafat), Humayun Gulzar (D/Sayadat), Jamil Athar (D/Tijarat) and Shahid Mahmood (D/Titarati Rahber).