ISLAMABAD: The Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) has unanimously rejected the proposed creation of a media regulatory authority and urged the government to ensure the freedom of press if it intends to make institutions more efficient.

A meeting of the PCP’s general council was held on Friday under the presidentship of Dr M. Salahuddin Mengal.

Representatives of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Pakistan Bar Council and Pakistan Commission on Women Status attended the meeting.

Journalist Zia Shahid said the print media had always struggled for the right to information, freedom of press and the rights of its readers.

“The Press Council of Pakistan is an independent, autonomous and self-regulatory body which has been working for the implementation of code of ethics in the newspaper industry,” Mr Shahid added.

He observed that all stakeholders had rejected the proposal to set up a media regulatory authority. “We are not opposed to improvement of institutions dealing with the media, but the only way of betterment goes through the parliament.”

The council unanimously passed a resolution declaring that the PCP had exclusive authority to nominate members of its choice and the information ministry had no right to object to the council’s constitution and its decisions. The PCP said the ministry was challenging the council’s legality due to non-issuance of a notification.

“The Council has been validly constituted and the general meetings of PCP held in Islamabad on Sept 17 and Dec 28 and the decisions taken and resolutions passed in both meetings are legal, valid and in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

The PCP described the information ministry’s objection as baseless, complaining that it had not notified names of new nominees to the council under Section 7(2) of the PCP Ordinance, 2002.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2018