ISLAMABAD: The stakeholders of the media industry on Tuesday expressed grave concern over growing incidents of unlawful and unconstitutional acts to curb press freedom and restrict free flow of information in the country.

At a meeting they discussed pressure tactics against media houses, press and media advices, uncalled-for censorship and threats to journalists and media workers.

Hameed Haroon, president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society; Duraid Qureshi, secretary general of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association; Sardar Khan Niazi, Yahya Khan Sadozai and Shakeel Turabi of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors; Syed Amjad Shah, vice president of the Pakistan Bar Council; Khursheed Khan and Sadia Bukhari of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; Shehzada Zulfikar, president and Nasir Zaidi, secretary general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists; and Asif A. Zuberi attended the meeting.

Presided over by veteran journalist M. Ziauddin, the meeting observed that the situation was alarming and dangerous for freedom of the press and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The stakeholders of the media industry asked the government and authorities concerned to take appropriate measures to deal with the situation and find out the unknown groups which are using pressure tactics against the media without any reason.

The meeting unanimously decided to finalise a foundation document on press freedom within 10 days and tasked veteran journalists M. Ziauddin, I.A. Rehman and Zohra Yousaf to prepare its basic draft.

It noted that restrictions on free media and various pressures on the freedom of expression may harm and tarnish the country’s image abroad.

The meeting’s participants suggested that the government should take note of the situation as the country was already under scrutiny of the Financial Action Task Force, therefore, urgent and immediate measures were needed to deal and control the aggravating situation.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019