Journalists protest restraints on media
LAHORE: Hundreds of journalists took out a rally from Lahore Press Club to the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday to protest the blacking out of news channels and the promulgation of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Ordinance.
Protestors shouted slogans against the ordinance and the ban on the channels. They crossed the barricades the police had set up and sat in front of the assembly.
Daily Times editor-in-chief Najam Sethi said the media had gained its freedom by sacrifices. He said journalists would have to form a common front against the PEMRA Ordinance.
He said Pakistan’s image had been tarnished because of the ban on news channels. “The rulers claim there is democracy,” he said, “but it is not seen in the county.” “They will have to give freedom not only to the media, but also to the people,” he added.
Friday Times publisher Jugnu Mohsin said journalists would not accept a code of conduct by the government. “Freedom of expression has been hard earned and it is not granted out of generosity,” she said. She termed the treatment meted out to judges and lawyers shameful. “Lawyers have been arrested for demanding the independence of the judiciary,” she added.
“The leadership of a political party is not allowed to return to the country, while the another political party is not allowed to conduct its election campaign,” she said. Punjab Union of Journalists president Arif Hameed Bhatti said journalists would not accept the ordinance and demanded that restrictions on news channels be lifted immediately. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan director IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi and Lahore Press Club secretary Shoaibuddin also spoke on the occasion.