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Govt proposes to set up media courts.

KARACHI -- Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan on Wednesday floated the idea of "media courts" that will speedily resolve "issues" pertaining to the media industry. Addressing a press conference in Karachi after a meeting with the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, Awan said she had discussed the courts with PBA members. She said that the proposed special courts will exclusively hear complaints by the media industry against the government as well as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and vice versa.

SAPM Awan described media workers as "the backbone of the media industry". She said she had taken up the problems of media workers with the PBA and promised that under a new policy, the government will be playing the role of a bridge between media employees and employers. Meanwhile, the APNS strongly rejects establishing Media Courts as proposed by Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information. Hameed Haroon, President and Sarmad Ali, Secretary General of All Pakistan Newspapers Society in a joint statement have strongly criticised the proposal of Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan to establish media courts in the country. They stated that the media is already braving strong pressures in the form of press advices and measures of intimidation from ruling quarters which tantamount to undeclared censorship. The proposed media courts would be an added and institutionalised lever for arm-twisting of media and reflects the mindset of present power centre that intends to curb voices of dissent by all means.

The APNS office bearers pointed out that in the presence of dispute and complaints resolution forum like Press Council of Pakistan and Pemra there was no justification to form special courts for media. They urged upon the Federal Government to withdraw the proposal of Media Courts forthwith if it does not intend to strangulate the media in the country. The APNS reiterates its resolve to protect freedoms of press and expression in the country and continue to perform the role of watchdog of the rights of people of Pakistan. On the other hand, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) while expressing "serious concerns" on the announcement, has rejected the proposal. In a press release issued by the body of editors, CPNE President Arif Nizami and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak said that "CPNE stands against any kind of discriminatory legislation and would oppose discriminator media law at all forums". The statement also said that CPNE had already "rejected the draft of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority".

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Publication:The Messenger (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 25, 2019
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