PML government fully believes in freedom of press: spokesman

ISLAMABAD: The PML government fully believes in freedom of the press, and has always been endeavouring to promote lofty traditions of a healthy journalism, a spokesman for the Pakistan Muslim League said on Tuesday.

In a statement issued here, the spokesman said that certain elements were trying to target the journalistic institutions and organisations for their vested interests. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said, holds the Pakistani press in high esteem for its role in promoting the democratic stability and rule of law. But, he added, opportunist elements were trying to twist the facts to score political gains.

The spokesman said during the PML regime no journalist or the newspaper were ever subjected to any victimisation. He said the freedom of press opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is talking about, was never seen during their government as they banned six newspapers, victimised mediamen through state terrorism and implicated them in false cases. Moreover, during the Benazir era senior journalists had to undergo trials under 16 MPO when they exposed the corruption of her government and an editor of a newspaper was also arrested, he said.

The PML spokesman also cited the incidents of killing and violence against journalists and cancellation of declaration during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the worst examples of violating Human Rights and the press freedom. He asked the opposition leader to take stock of deeds of her governments against the press before criticising the PML government.

The spokesman lauded the efforts of the Pakistani press for playing a historic role for the restoration of democracy and creating political awareness among the masses, which is duly recognised by the PML government. But, he said, in any democratic country no institution or personality is above the law. The spokesman said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, by appearing before the Supreme Court, set a practical example for the respect of law and also faced more than 200 cases registered against him during the PPP regime.

The News International Pakistan