By Our Staff Reporter
QUETTA: Speakers during a seminars said that media and press freedom was facing the worst of its crisis in the history of Pakistan in the form of intimidation and coercion by hidden hands which would be resisted with full force.
During a one day seminar titled, ‘Provincial Seminar on Freedom of the Press & Resolution of Media Crisis, organized by the Federal Union of Journalists (FUJ) in collaboration with Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ), and Quetta Press Club held here at a local hotel, the General Secretary of PFUJ Nasir Zaidi announced that if the incumbent rulers do not heed to their demands and do not let the journalists work freely, they would launch a long march that would be taken from Quetta and lead to Islamabad in April.
He referred to the history that how journalists were intimated and how laws were made to arm-twist journalists’ right from the inception of Pakistan to date both in the democratic and dictatorial regimes.
He further said that the advertisement policy too is used as an instrument of curtailing the press freedom and added that 6 billion rupees of media owners are owed by government. He said that there are two main problems: one the issue of censorship and the other is a creeping coup against basic freedoms in which state has played a role.
He said that Quaid-e-Azaam Muhammad Ali, during the inauguration of Dawn in 1947, had said that that press and nation fall together, adding if press is free, nation would flourish and if press is not free, state would see decline.
He said that the wisdom of Quaid-e-Azaam proved true as our society is going towards decline gradually due to censorship on press. He said that the worst thing that happened to this nation was the derailment of the culture of dialogue, adding that no nation can progress, can have evolution, can have progressive mind-set and can have evolution of democratic values where debate and dialogue are non-existent.
He said that due to the usurpation of power by the powerful elements in the country, Pakistan lost its very part where Muslim League had come into existence and censorship of press can be gauged by the fact that on 16th of December, people could not have the news that Pakistani forces had surrendered in East Pakistan as General Yaya was announcing in West Pakistan that day that they would fight to the last breath.
He said that today instead of inclusive mindset, a particular mindset has been developed which is pushing country backwards rather than taking it towards progress. He said that previously Ministry of Information would control media but now it is unknown as to which forces are hovering over press.
He said that press freedom has also been curtailed through laws such as pemra law and Social Media Regulation Law
A large number of participants, including representatives of government, political parties and members of civil society were present on the occasion who expressed their solidarity with the cause of journalists and pressed for a more inclusive society and democratic values for a better tomorrow.