Politicians, journalists condemn Punjab Assembly’ resolution

Friday’s passing of a resolution against the media has generated a strong response from politicians and journalists.

Express July 09, 2010

Friday’s passing of a resolution against the media by the Punjab Assembly has generated a strong response from political parties as well as journalists’ associations.

As angry journalists boycotted the assembly proceedings and walked out from the press gallery on Friday, many of them burnt copies of the resolution and blocked Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s vehicle. Talking to the media, journalists said that they will continue their protest till the withdrawal of the resolution by assembly members.

Also, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) announced a countrywide protest on Saturday and a boycott of National Assembly and Senate sessions. The PFUJ termed the passing of the resolution, a calculated move to undermine the role of the media and to divert the public’s attention away from real issues. The federation of journalists has also asked all other unions of journalists, press clubs, media organisations and journalists’ associations to hold rallies and demonstrations in order to condemn the resolution and the Punjab government for patronising the anti-media campaign.

In a joint statement issued by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), the association’s president Khushnood Ali Khan and secretary general Amir Mehmood termed the resolution a threat to democracy. CPNE expressed regret at the assembly’s decision to pass a resolution against media’s freedom but did urge media institutions to follow a code of conduct and to adopt a responsible attitude stating media’s role is very important in strengthening democratic institutions.

Similarly, although federal Information Minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira termed the Punjab Assembly’s resolution against the media unfortunate, he also called upon the media to refrain from using offensive language against politicians.

“It is not a good move. We cannot praise or condemn it. This is very unfortunate and shouldn’t have happened. All parliamentarians don’t have an unkind attitude towards media and similarly some journalists use harsh words for politicians though without identifying any individuals but if I use such a tone with you, you will certainly be offended,” Kaira said.

Condemning the Punjab Assembly’s move, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Mushahid Hussain termed the passing of the resolution a shameful act. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Mushahid said, “A very shameful act took place in Lahore today (Friday). We condemn this resolution. We announce our support for the media. We are with the free judiciary and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and we demand of the Punjab Assembly to take this resolution back.”

Commenting on the issue, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Javed Hashmi asked the Punjab Assembly to withdraw the resolution.

He said it should be kept in notice that the media played a commendable role in the restoration of democracy and the judiciary. “Members of the Punjab Assembly should take back this resolution. We might have complaints about the media but it is that power that brought back democracy,” Hashmi told reporters.

Meanwhile the president of the Pakistan Muslim League – Zia, Ijazul Haq, announced that he would challenge the Punjab Assembly’s resolution in the Lahore High Court (LHC). Talking to APP, Haq said he had directed his party’s secretary general Zulfiqar Ahmad Chaudhary to get a copy of the resolution and file a writ in the court. When contacted, Zulfiqar Ahmad Chaudhary said that the writ petition will be filed on Monday at the LHC’s principal seat.

Also, spokesman of the Punjab government Senator Pervaiz Rashid said that the resolution is not in line with the stance of the government nor the policy of the PML-N.

In a statement issued on Friday, Senator Rashid said that the Punjab government and PML-N believe in freedom of journalism and are against any kind of restrictions on the media. ( With additional input from wires)

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2010.


MIRZA ARSHAD ALI | 11 years ago | Reply yes, it is a black day in the history of punjab assembly, not in the history of media, media has faced challanges in the regin of a GENERAL,but now in a democratic govt.and more so in the government pml (n)a resolution has passed unanimouly aganist media. it is condemn able.Not even we but the whole nation is with us
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