A convention arranged by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) here on Monday rejected the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and termed it an effort to suppress the voice of independent media and deprive people of their right to know.
The participants of the convention at the Peshawar Press Club announced to support the PFUJ’s scheduled Long March from Quetta to Islamabad. They said the members of the human rights organisations, civil society and lawyers would participate in the march, which would be taken out in the first week of November.
Speaking on the occasion, the central leader of Awami National Party ANP Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said a non-political person had been imposed on the nation and the present rulers had come into power with the power of media.
The veteran politician said the inefficient rulers had pushed the country towards destruction. He said they would stage hunger strike against the inefficient rulers from Thursday.
PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar said that the PMDA was not the problem of journalists alone as it would affect every citizen. Through PMDA, he said, media martial law was being imposed, which could not be and would not be accepted at any cost.
He said journalists had rendered sacrifices for free media and would do so in future as well. The PFUJ chief said the government wanted media like ones in Saudi Arabia and China but it would not be accepted.
Shahzada Zulfiqar said that thousands of journalists were sacked but the same media houses were receiving advertisements worth millions of rupees. He said the ITNE chairman had not been named for the last one year and the wage board award was also not implemented.
The PFUJ chief said the FIA, police and other institutions were being used to suppress the voice of independent media. The PFUJ secretary-general, Nasir Zaidi, said that the media was passing through the worst crisis and workers were not getting even salaries. He said the laws were not being implemented and decisions of the wage board were ignored.
Nasir Zaidi said the crisis in the media had been created and efforts were being made to snatch rights of free media. He said more than 10,000 workers had lost jobs and journalists were killed and attacked, but the criminals were not arrested.