Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

An Analysis of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors: Some Guidelines

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

An Analysis of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors: Some Guidelines

Article excerpt

The Council of Newspapers Editors (CPNE) is responsible for editorial standard of the Press but it is being observed that for the last few years many businessmen have entered into the profession of journalism. They have not only become the owners but also they themselves are the editors of their newspapers and by virtue of being editor they have become the member of not only All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) but also members of CPNE. Though the struggle of CPNE for the just cause of freedom of the Press has been a glorious chapter in the Press history of Pakistan, but the increasing influence of APNS and a huge presence of non-professional editors in the field, has impaired the image of CPNE. If it denies membership to the new entrants, they would not fall under its umbrella, and continue whatever they like to do. The CPNE would not have any right to refrain them. In this context this paper suggests that CPNE should strictly control its pre-requisites for membership and only persons having sound professional backgrounds should be allowed its membership. The Press Council should be competent to check the commitments of the members of CPNE in respect of professional background and editorial standards.1

The theoretical framework for this paper is based on the paradigm of Media Sociology. The methodology of document study and survey was employed to collect the relevant data from media professionals.

An Overview of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors

It is commonly believed that the Council of Pakistan Newspapers' Editors (CPNE) was established in 1956, bringing together the leading newspapers' editors of the day onto one single platform to fight for Press freedom of the Press and before this newspapers editors of the country were divided.2 However, M. A Zuberi, former Chief Editor, Daily Business Recorder, claims that it was established in 1958, when the Pakistan Newspapers Editors Conference and Newspapers Editors Council of Pakistan merged together.3 Those who took the lead in the unity move were Hameed Nizämi and Fakhr Mâtri from the then Newspapers Editors Conference of Pakistan (NECP) and Altäf Hussain and M. A. Zuberi from the Council of Pakistan Editors (CPE).4 The CPNE received due recognition from the government and also from the people. In this way from 1958 onwards, the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors started a new struggle; it worked diligently for the formation of a press council and also for establishing special benches of high courts to hear the matters related to newspapers. The Council also enforced a code of conduct and bound its member editors to follow the same.5 Prior to this, the Newspapers Editors Conference of Pakistan was established in 1948 with Altäf Hussain of daily Dawn as its organizational head." Altaf Hussain was the man who resisted the later attempts to censor the policy address of Mr. Jinnah in the very first session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) of the newly formed country* but later he could not stop division among the editors, on the issue of Public Safety Act. One group was led by Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Hameed Nizämi and the other had Altäf Hussain in a leading role.7 During this period the central and provincial governments in the country continued their attempts to curb the press, so much so that the government of the state of Bahäwalpur banned two local newspapers, the InsäJ and Satluj. The All Pakistan Newspapers Editors Conference decided to boycott the publication of the news of the state and the ban was at last lifted.8 The Newspapers Editors Conference of Pakistan continued its role to safeguard the newspapers from the government's attempts to curtail freedom, but on a very important occasion the Conference toed the line of establishment in 1949. On publication of a news on Kashmir in the Civil and Military Gazette, one of the oldest newspapers of the subcontinent, the Editors Conference along with sixteen daily newspapers of the time joined hands in demanding its closure. …

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