ISLAMABAD: The Pak­istan Federal Union of Jou­rnalists (PFUJ) has chal­k­­ed out a plan to hold nat­i­o­n­­wide demonstrations, as well as a sit-in opposite Parliament House in Isla­mabad, in protest against the federal government’s anti-media measures.

Afzal Butt, the PFUJ president, and secretary general Arshad Ansari said in a statement on Tuesday the campaign would begin on Jan 26 (tomorrow) in order to press the government into redeeming its promises. Some of these are: an end to a practice by Pemra of sending illegal notices to television channels, doing away with registration of bogus cases and release of arrested journalists.

The PFUJ office-bearers cited the examples of Imad Yusuf, implicated in a “serious case”, and Shahid Aslam, who was arrested recently for not disclosing his source of information. Mr Butt and Arshad Ansari criticised the federal government’s media policies, citing recent amendments to the Pemra Act, amendments to the PECA Act and the delay in arresting Arshad Sharif’s killers.

Meetings with politicians

As part of the nationwide protest movement, delegations from the PFUJ and other journalist unions will meet political leaders across the country on Jan 26 and 27 and urge them to join their campaign.

The PFUJ said if its demands were not accepted by Jan 29, it would hold a sit-in outside Islamabad’s National Press Club the next day (Jan 30).

“We will start our ‘Freedom of Press Rally’ from the National Press Club at 3pm on Jan 30,” Mr Butt said.

“We will march towards Parliament House and then turn the rally into a dharna,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023

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