PAKISTAN: Bill on 'controlling' press slammed

Media leader says government is keeping newspapers "in the dark"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Karachi --- The move to establish a press and publications regulatory authority is an attempt by the federal government to 'ambush' freedom of press and the motive for the legislation is to effectively control the print media.

This was stated by Naib Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami Prof Ghafoor Ahmed in a statement issued here on Friday. Condemning the move, he said that presenting the bill by keeping the All-Pakistan Newspapers Society APNS in the dark, was a proof of the government's dishonesty.

He wondered that on the one hand, the rulers were claiming that the government believe in freedom of press, and, on the other, covert attacks on press freedom were being made and tools were being prepared to control press.

Prof Ghafoor said that after restricting the electronic media's freedom through Pemra to the news of their own choice, they were now creating a new authority to gag the print media.