KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have welcomed the appointment of Senator Shibli Faraz as information minister and retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information.
In a statement released on Tuesday, APNS president Hameed Haroon and secretary general Sarmad Ali congratulated Senator Faraz and Gen Asim Bajwa and expressed hopes that the new media team of the federal government would address problems being faced by the newspaper industry and try to improve relations with the mainstream media.
The APNS office-bearers pointed out that the newspaper industry was in the midst of a financial crunch due to a big decline in advertising by both the government and the private sector and non-payment of dues by the federal and provincial governments.
The Covid-19 pandemic has badly affected the financial health of media organisations, Hameed Haroon and Sarmad Ali said. “The APNS has time and again requested the government to approve a relief package for the print media. This could include an increase in the quantum of advertisements, raising advertisement rates and clearance of outstanding dues.”
The APNS assured Shibli Faraz and Asim Bajwa of its full support in realisation of their aims and objectives.
In a separate statement, CPNE President Arif Nizami and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak said the media industry was going through a struggle for survival owing to restrictions on press freedom and an alarming decline in earnings.
The CPNE expressed hopes that the new team at the information ministry would play a decisive role in solving the industry’s problems by taking all stakeholders into confidence.
Mr Nizami and Dr Khattak urged the new information minister and the Special Assistant on information to ensure that all dues owed to media houses, as well as salaries not paid by employers, were cleared expeditiously.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2020