LAHORE: The press clubs of Pakistan have unanimously endorsed the call for a long march given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Regulatory (PMDA) bill during their FEC meeting that concluded here on Thursday.
There was representation of a large number of press clubs from across the country in the Lahore meeting, from Karachi to Peshawar. Speaking at a crowded press conference, Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari expressed solidarity with the PFUJ decision and assured that he, along with his colleagues, would join the long march. He said all press clubs in the big and small cities of Punjab have supported journalists’ struggle for the freedom of expression. He said the PFUJ has taken a great initiative to safeguard the rights of the journalists community and the LPC would also stage a Dharna in front of the Punjab Assembly to register protest against the PMDA bill. He assured the PFUJ that journalists from Punjab would stand shoulder to shoulder with the PFUJ in media’s joint struggle for freedom and hoped they will ultimately succeed.
Fazil Jameel of the Karachi Press Club denied that he or his colleagues have supported the PMDA bill. “We did meet with some government officials but never accepted it,” he said and informed the participants that he had just received a message from Karachi that the Sindh Assembly has passed a resolution against the PMDA bill. All political parties in the assembly supported it except the PTI. He hoped that other provincial assemblies would also join the course. Fazil said that after sensing the mood of journalists throughout Pakistan, the government has taken a U-turn and now it is insisting upon ‘fake news’ instead of the PMDA bill. He assured the PFUJ that he and his colleagues would participate in the long march and would return successful.
Shakeel Anjum Karar, president of National Press Club of Islamabad, said journalists are activists as well as organisers and would assume their double role when the long march reaches Islamabad. “We would not only host you but also fight shoulder to shoulder with you to achieve our collective mission.” He informed that the press clubs in small cities around Rawalpindi/Islamabad are also very enthusiastic to join the long march. He hoped that the collective struggle would end with ultimate victory.
Iqbal Mallah, general secretary of Hyderabad Press Club, said the long march will be a referendum against the government’s proposed bill of PMDA. He said the government should not be overconfident that it would suppress the journalists community. “No one can stop our long march from reaching Islamabad,” he affirmed.
The Quetta Press Club secretary general said: “The long march would start from Quetta and as hosts we assure all the participants that it would be a wonderful beginning
Source: The News