LAHORE: The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and the Association of Progressive Writers in collaboration with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (PLAC) held a seminar on the situation in Pakistan and the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority bill.
The seminar was held under the chairmanship of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Secretary General Nasir Zaidi. The speakers were senior journalists Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Sohail Warraich, PFUJ Treasurer Zulfiqar Ali Mehtu, President PUJ Qamar Zaman Bhatti, economist Khula Wilayat, Punjabi poet Baba Najmi and Zarrin Pana.
Addressing the event, Nasir Zaidi said the government’s propaganda of fake news is aimed at curbing media freedom. “We cannot make Pakistan a safe country without the protection of free media.” Senior journalist Sohail Warraich said the struggle for the freedom of press from the platform of the Association of Progressive Writers and the PUJ is a good omen for the country. The clear position of journalists and intellectuals in the seminar will guarantee the protection of freedom of press.
Senior journalist Khawar Naeem Hashmi said that in the form of social media, 220 million people in the country are now playing the role of citizen journalists. President PUJ Qamar Zaman Bhatti said now all writers, poets and thinkers will fall prey to the PMDA.
The speakers extended their full support to the PFUJ in the fight for freedom of press and vowed to fully participate in the long march starting from Balochistan in November. PUJ General Secretary Khawaja Aftab Hassan, Secretary Progressive Writers Association Javed Aftab, former president Lahore Press Club Shahbaz Mian, Senior journalist Zawar Comrade, Zulfiqar Ali Mehtu, Khola Wilayat, Zarrin Pana and Mahrukh expressed their views on civil liberties in the country. Calling the freedom of press inevitable, they vowed to resist and fight against any such government move including the PMDA.
The government has to understand first the difference between social media and digital media. It has to devise an action plan for the videos uploaded on social media, they said. The speakers said that on September 13, the participation of journalists, civil society and people from all walks of life in a demonstration in front of the Parliament House forced the government to back off from the PMDA. Journalists will continue struggle for the freedom of press and freedom of expression and the right to information and civil liberties in the country. A poem written by former PUJ president Ataul Musawwir was recited in the seminar while Baba Najmi also delivered a speech. Zarrin Pana and her student performed Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous ghazal “hum dekhain gay, lazim hai keh hum bhi dekhain gay”.
Source: The News