KARACHI: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) on Wednesday expressed their dismay over a ban imposed by the federal government on advertisement to the Dawn Media Group and observed that it was contrary to the norms of democracy.
In separate statements, the APNS and PBA strongly condemned the use of government advertising as a lever to force the media to act as per their dictation, which is tantamount to a significant and undesirable curb on the freedom of press.
The APNS noted that such actions aimed to strangulate the dissenting voices, and were unconstitutional as well as a gross violation of democratic norms.
“This policy pursued earlier by dictatorial regimes is contrary to Article 19 enshrined in the Constitution which guarantees the freedom of press.”

The APNS recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had assured the press in clear terms that his government would protect and safeguard the freedom of press in contrast to certain quarters in government which were consistently pursuing a policy to control the press by arm-twisting actions through the use of government advertising as a lever to silence differing opinions.
“This has been a tactic in the past but in Naya Pakistan we expected new trends to be made and new benchmarks to be set,” said the PBA.
The two organisations asked the prime minister to advise the Ministry of Information to immediately lift the ban on government advertising to the Dawn Media Group.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2019

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