ISLAMABAD: Calling the existing condition of freedom of the press in Pakistan as complex and unsatisfactory, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has said the editors and journalists feel under pressure and are compelled to practice ‘self-censorship’. This was said in a resolution passed on Tuesday during a meeting of the CPNE steering committee, chaired by CPNE President Arif Nizami.
The meeting noted that newspapers of some media houses have been facing difficulties regarding the distribution of their publications and the resolution recommended editors of all such newspapers to contact the CPNE so that this issue might be resolved in consultation with all stakeholders.
The resolution also expressed concern over the situation of media in Balochistan and said ‘imposition of the state of self-censorship’ in the province has cast doubt on the democratic process and holding of free and fair elections.
The meeting also took stock of the complaints of harassment and torture received from various journalists including Gul Bukhari, Asad Kharral and Marvi Sirmed.
The CPNE steering committee condemned these events; expressed solidarity with these journalists and appealed to all state institutions and others not to repeat these ‘undemocratic measures’.
Caretaker Minister for Information Ali Zafar, who also attended the meeting, said the government firmly believes in holding free, transparent, and impartial election in accordance with the Constitution.
While claiming there is a threat to democracy, Zafar invited the media to discuss the situation. He said the democratic process is getting damaged due to extreme economic inequality, sectarianism, racial and ethnic rifts, political intolerance and the fake and fabricated news published in a section of the press.
“The country greatly needs independent and free media based on ethical foundations as the media has a central role in holding free, transparent and impartial election,” he said.
Accepting the newspapers perennial demand, the minister also announced to enhance the registration period of newspapers and magazines from three years to five years. He also announced that the ABC certificate’s renewal term will be three years.