Lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly directed their anger at the media on Friday, passing a resolution against the deplorable and pernicious propagandist campaigns carried out by media representatives against democratic institutions.
The resolution, moved by the Pakistan Muslim League-N deputy Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, was unanimously passed. Opposition members, however, condemned the move once the assembly session was over.
But during the session, none of the lawmakers voiced any objections – even when prompted by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan. Soon after, Khan announced the resolution had been passed unanimously and PPP, PML-Q and PML-N lawmakers delivered speeches supporting the resolution.
The Punjab Assembly has also demanded the government set up a committee comprising lawmakers and journalists who can present recommendations regarding the conduct of the media. Meanwhile, journalists across the country took offence at the resolution. Journalists in Lahore boycotted assembly proceedings after the passage of the resolution. Some parliamentarians say the resolution is a bid to stop the media from highlighting the issue of parliamentarians’ fake degrees.
Following is a translation of the text of the resolution:
“This session of the Punjab Assembly has reservations regarding the irresponsible propaganda being conducted against democratic institutions, political leaders and public representatives by some sections of the media and believes this propaganda can have a negative impact on the future of democracy and the supremacy of law in Pakistan.
“All members of this house unanimously condemn this unnecessary propaganda campaign against democratic institutions and public representatives and demand that responsible sections of the media avoid presenting baseless, humiliating and irresponsible programmes against democratic institutions and political leaders in the larger interests of the nation and the country.
“This house honestly believes that presenting footage of respectable women parliamentarians overlaid with vulgar Indian songs by some television channels is irresponsible, immoral and in conflict with eastern values and, as such, is highly condemnable. This house demands that these TV channels be careful in showing such programmes about these honorable women representatives of the people.
“This house acknowledges and salutes those journalists who engage in responsible and unbiased journalism. However, this house demands that responsible, independent journalists should come forward to discourage the trend of irresponsible reporting and character assassination of political and apolitical personalities for vested interests.
“This session of the Punjab Assembly members has reservations regarding the humiliating elements found in media discussions regarding Pakistani political personages. The house has reservations regarding the discriminatory attitude adopted by the media on the basis of regional and ethnic grounds.
“This session of the Punjab Assembly also demands the government constitute a committee comprising assembly members and media representatives, which should take note of this situation and present doable recommendations.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2010.