LAHORE: A prominent journalist has criticised the National Accountability Bureau’s move to seek information from the Punjab government about the quantum of advertisements placed in different newspapers, terming it an attack on press freedom and a tactic to silence voices of dissent against the watchdog.

In a letter addressed to the Director General of Public Relations (DGPR), Punjab, on July 16, the National Accountability Bureau sought information under section 27 of the NAB Ordinance 1999 about advertisements given by the provincial government to newspapers, especially daily Pakistan.

Mujeebur Rehman Shami, the chief editor of the Urdu daily published from Lahore and Multan, said in a statement on Sunday that the media, like the judiciary and the armed forces, should be out of bounds for the bureau to “save the constitutional right to freedom of expression”.

Mr Shami said he would take the issue to the higher judiciary, as well as the bodies representing media owners and editors, to thrash out a joint stance “to foil moves aimed at intimidating the media into submission”.

He claimed that NAB authorities had been urging him to desist from criticising the bureau’s actions. “However, I have always asked them to provide the watchdog’s version to ensure an even-handed coverage.”

NAB has asked the DGPR to provide a detailed report, along with attested copies of documents pertaining to the distribution of advertisement from 2007 to date, details of SPL advertisements released directly along with details of SPL dues deducted during the period. Complete details of payments made to daily Pakistan, the paper owned by Mr Shami, and rates offered to the paper have also been sought by NAB.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...
Debt deferment
Updated 26 Sep, 2022

Debt deferment

Pakistan’s dollar funding needs for next 5 years have never been so large and world’s appetite to hold its hands never so poor.
Dengue concerns
26 Sep, 2022

Dengue concerns

AS weather conditions change in Pakistan, the threat of dengue looms large over the land. According to a warning...
Relic of colonialism
26 Sep, 2022

Relic of colonialism

THE law on sedition, one of several holdovers of colonial times, is among the most handy instruments for controlling...