ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious concern over leaked audio clip of two senior PML-N leaders in which they are using abusive language against senior journalists and anchorpersons, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has demanded an apology from the party leadership.

In a joint statement, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said the leaked audio was alarming as it showed the mindset of political leadership against media and independent journalists.

Referring to the telephonic conversation allegedly between PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and party leader Pervaiz Rashid, they said it was strange while in government the political leadership worked against freedom of press and free speech but for mustering support during opposition they spoke of media freedom.

Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors too condemned the language used and views expressed by Maryam Nawaz and former information minister Pervaiz Rashid in the recently leaked audio.

In a statement, the association said it believed in independence of media and rejected any disrespect for working journalists, saying that all political parties should desist from trying to dictate media on internal decisions of hiring and guests invited in programmes.

Reacting to the leaked audio, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill condemned the derogatory language used by the PML-N leaders against senior journalists and said Maryam Safdar had been continuously attacking press freedom.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Gill said the PML-N leadership not only used derogatory language for senior journalists but also stopped government advertisements to various TV channels.

He said similar language was also used for mediapersons by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N lawmaker Rana Sanaullah.

In another development, a joint meeting of senior journalists, editors, news directors, bureau chiefs and anchorpersons of Rawalpindi and Islamabad expressed concern over the possible indictment of journalists by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The meeting, held at the National Press Club, requested the apex court to form a committee comprising experienced editors and directors news on the affidavit of former Gilgit-Baltistan chief judge Rana Shamim instead of pursuing contempt proceedings against the journalists.

The participants requested the esteemed court to show leniency and drop the allegations leveled against senior journalist Ansar Abbasi.

The meeting was attended among others by Talat Hussain, Mohammad Malick, Sami Ibrahim, Naseem Siddiqui, Shahid Maitla and The News Editor Amir Ghauri.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2022

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