Journalists boycott PM

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The City journalists and correspondents of the international media on Tuesday walked out from the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's function in protest against the attack on the freedom of press and victimisation of the Jang Group of Publications by the government.

The prime minister was chief guest here at the Annual Export Trophy Distribution ceremony held by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Journalists representing all the national, regional newspapers and domestic and international news agencies, as well as broadcast services, walked out from the function soon after the recitation from the Holy Qur'aan.

The walkout was a reaction of the journalist community to the Nawaz government attitude towards the national press, especially the victimisation of the Jang Group and registration of sedition cases against three newspapers.The sedition cases were registered against dailies Jang, Amn and Parcham for publishing an advertisement of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation, a subsidiary of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Earlier, the battery of journalists were preparing to talk to the premier about the issue but the feedback they got from certain PML leaders and representatives of the official media, who attended the premier's briefing at the Governor House, was extremely negative.

At least, two PML leaders told the journalists that they should not try to talk to the premier about the government-press tussle. Nawaz) not only refused to talk on the issue but also snubbed the Leaguers, saying he would not like any mediation attempt in this regard.

The journalists - who attended the briefing at the Governor House - also confirmed that the prime minister was not ready to talk on the issue. Subsequently, the journalists covering the FPCCI function decided to walkout from the function.

MNA Mian Ejaz Shafi of the PML-N rushed out of the Avari Hotel to talk to the protesting journalists, but to no avail. Ejaz Shafi was told that if he could assure that the premier would announce an end to the intimidation of the Jang Group and withdraw the sedition cases against three dailies, the journalists would end their boycott. However, the MNA was not in a position to give any such assurance.

The News International Pakistan