The Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) on Sunday said the role of independent media has become more important in the context of public awareness during current crisis, as it urged the government to release pending dues to media houses.
These views were expressed by CPNE President Arif Nizami during a meeting of the Standing Committee held via video link.
He said there was an urgent need for all stakeholders, including federal and provincial governments, to reflect on the situation of coronavirus, financial and other difficulties faced by the people so that they can tackle the current problems.
In the meeting, the Standing Committee members passed a resolution stating that the federal government, by abolishing government’s advertisements quota of local and regional newspapers and periodicals across the country, has brought these newspapers and periodicals to the brink of closure which will create more unemployment and poverty.
“The regional and local newspapers & periodicals are not only the backbone of responsible and strong media, but they are also providing journalism-related human resource training and manpower to mainstream media outlets and other institutions,” it added.
In addition, the local media also provides a basic platform to highlight local problems and issues related to economy and leadership. The government’s policy to ignore regional and local media outlets can extremely damage all the country’s institutions, it added.
The CPNE said the advertisements’ distribution to selected newspapers will be undemocratic, urging for a probe into the irregularities concerning the issuance of government advertisements.
The CPNE further claimed that the government and provinces should also realize the fact that mainstream media are covering the four or five big cities in the country, whereas regional and local newspapers & periodicals – spread all over Pakistan including districts, cities, regions – have a profound effect on the entire society.
The CPNE, expressing concern over the long-standing dues of government advertisements of media houses, said that thousands of media workers and their media outlets are severely affected due to this unfair practice.
Owing to the prolonged lockdown in the country and preparations of upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the media outlets and media workers are facing financial difficulties.
In the meeting, the CPNE requested federal and provincial governments to immediately release direct payments of their dues to media outlets so that salaries of media workers could be paid before Eid-ul-Fitr
Source : Pakistan Today