The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has strongly condemned the “highly immoral and indecent remarks” made by PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz and Pervez Rashid against journalists in the alleged audio leak, asking them to apologise to the media across the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the CPNE took great exception to the purported conversation in the audio and emphasised that senior journalists and other media persons, including anchors, had the right to express their views, asserting that no pressure on the media and journalists would be tolerated.
In the un-dated leaked clip that went viral on social media, the PML-N leaders could be heard purportedly discussing a current affairs show’s alleged “bias” against the PML-N government.
The leaked clip appears to be from October 2016 when then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had returned from a three-day trip to Azerbaijan. As per the clip, the PML-N leaders also mention names of journalists who, according to them, are “tilted against us” and sometimes spin matters to ridicule the PML-N.
The duo also discusses that there was no one in the talk show who could speak in favour of the PML-N. Towards the end of the clip, Maryam allegedly passes instructions that a pair of baskets that Nawaz Sharif brought from Azerbaijan be sent to journalists.
The council’s statement lamented that “the immoral talk of politicians against journalists” had exposed the hidden “dictatorial thinking” behind controlling the media.
“The intolerant and prejudiced attitude of senior PML-N leaders and politicians towards senior journalists and the media shows the extent to which freedom of the press and freedom of expression can be suppressed.”
In addition, the CPNE leaders demanded that the government conduct a forensic investigation into the alleged viral audio leak on electronic and social media and hold accountable the “conspirators” who illegally recorded the audio and made it viral on social media.
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