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PFUJ asks to hold debate in the Parliament on Nasir Aslam Zahid commission report

KARACHI: August 27, 2015. (PCP) Senior journalists, office-bearers and members of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) at a seminar in Karachi on Wednesday declared the media code of conduct as unsatisfactory, and said that some points in it amount to gag freedom of expression.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists demanded of the federal government to reconstitute the code of conduct, and prior to its issuance, PFUJ, journalist’s bodies, media owners and other relevant institutions is consulted.

The PFUJ also urged the government to hold debate in parliament on Nasir Aslam Zahid commission report.

Media houses should also abide by the moral and social ethics and local traditions, and they should also exercise restraint in their transmissions, and avoid telecasting such programmes which may create commotion, result in unrest or may amount to character assassination of anybody.

The PFUJ, however, made it clear that if the government tried to enforce new code of conduct by force, the PFUJ as a last option would hold strong countrywide protests to protect freedom of expression, and freedom of speech as guaranteed under the Article 19 of the Constitution. These demands were made at a media seminar, organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, with the collaboration of Karachi Union of Journalists at the Karachi Press Club. All the demands were approved unanimously by the house.

PFUJ Secretary-General Mohammad Amin Yousuf presided over the seminar while senior journalists Tahir Najmi, Rafiq Sheikh, Mazhar Abbas, KUJ president GM Jamali, Secretary Wajid Raza Isfahani, Hassan Abbas, Zaheer Ahmed Khan, Salik Majeed, Aijaz Shaikh and Prof Tauseef Ahmed Khan spoke on the occasion.

It was stated that the PFUJ believes in freedom of expression and any law or code of conduct which gives it to understand that media could be gagged through its implementation, the PFUJ considers such a law as an attack on freedom of expression.

A committee was also constituted, comprising senior journalists and legal experts, to review the new code of conduct for media. The committee would finalise its recommendations.

The PFUJ asked the federal government to immediately take the PFUJ and other relevant bodies into confidence, and hold talks with them of code of conduct, and a new unanimously approved code be implemented in its place.

The PFUJ would also contact parliamentarians, political parties, civil society, and other sections of society, and make consultations for incorporating new proposals in this code of conduct.