January 07, 2021
Published 17 days ago
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has vehemently and outrightly rejected the representation in the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) and amendments made by the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting for changing the criteria for PCP chairman’s appointment.
“We reject the changes made in the rules which are aimed at bringing yes men in the PCP,” PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi (pictured) said on Thursday.
The two leaders pointed out that PFUJ, which is the sole representative body of journalists’ unions across the country, represented their community in the PCP for the last nine years.
It said that to make this body ineffective and to include ‘yes men’ in this organization, changes have been made which would allow the government to nominate any four persons from the so-called professional bodies of journalists “instead of four members of PFUJ.”
“This is an attempt to divide and deprive the journalist community of their true representatives from the PCP,” they said.
The PFUJ leaders, while rejecting the announcement of representation in PCP, said PFUJ had earlier conveyed its concerns and rejected this proposal by sending its written protest to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting a few months ago.
“We cannot be part of such unwanted and ill-conceived unilateral decision of Pakistan's government whose only concern is to bring in those people who can toe its line,” PFUJ said.
On the appointment of the chairman of the council, PFUJ contended that the Press Council of Pakistan had always been headed by a retired high court judge or a lawyer who fulfills the requirement of being a high court judge.
“The new, ill-conceived amendment to the rules aims to bring a person of government’s choice to encourage favoritism and nepotism. Being the sole elected representatives of the journalists’ community, we reject the amendments made to the Press Council of Pakistan Bill 2020.”
PFUJ called upon the government to withdraw these amendments. The amendment attempts to divide and rule and further damage the media industry and install the chairman of PCP by eroding merit and transparency, which seems to be the ruling PTI government's policy.
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