'Free media inevitable for stable democratic culture'

Published: December 19, 2018
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) President Arif Nizami has stressed the need for promotion of freedom of expression as well as press, terming it critical for democratic stability in the country.

“It is also vital for the country to progress,” said the CPNE president during a luncheon hosted by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in honour of the CPNE delegation led by Nizami on Tuesday.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Yousaf Baig Mirza, Information Secretary Shafqat Jalil and Principal Information Officer Mian Jahangir Iqbal were also present on the occasion where matters pertaining to media in general, and its freedom in particular, were discussed.

Expressing CPNE’s reservations over the federal government’s proposed regulatory authority, Nizami said that print media, under the Newspaper Registration Act 2000, was already under provincial-territorial jurisdiction, and making any changes to it through any regulatory authority would be inappropriate.

He lauded the government’s efforts for the regulation and an equal as well as transparent distribution of advertisements to the print media industry, while also commending the government’s decision with regard to direct disbursement of newspapers’ dues.

However, Nizami expressed the council’s concern over the abolishing of 25 per cent advertisement quota for local newspapers and the fact that small newspapers were being ignored in larger cities.

Addressing CPNE’s concern, Information Minister Fawad explained that the government had provided all small and big, local and national newspapers with their rightful shares and the impression of any overlooking was not true.

But still, he added, if there had been any neglect on the part of the Information Ministry, it was ready to compensate for it.

During the meeting, it was agreed upon that 85 per cent of the newspapers’ payments against government advertisements would be cleared through direct payments, while a mere 15 per cent would be paid via advertisement agencies.

Meanwhile, CPNE Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak, thanked the minister, the secretary and all other government officials for discussing CPNE’s standpoint and the points raised by the council.

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