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IFJ welcomes establishment of Press Council of Pakistan

(IFJ/IFEX) – 4 November 2011 – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in welcoming the establishment of the Press Council of Pakistan as a step toward improving quality and accountability in journalism.

The council, which was officially established with the Press Council Ordinance in 2002, is now active, having held its first meeting on November 1. The long delay in activating the press council has been attributed to a lack of political will on the part of the Pakistan federal government.

The press council is chaired by former Lahore High Court Judge Raja Mohammad Shafqat Khan Abbasi. The PFUJ, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have each nominated four representatives to the Press Council.

The vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, the Higher Education Commission, the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, and the National Commission on the Status of Women have each nominated one member. The council will also appoint a media expert to verify complaints about media conduct and carry out research and reporting.

"The IFJ welcomes the establishment of the Press Council of Pakistan, and is encouraged by the prominent role the PFUJ will play in promoting and defending quality journalism," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Self-regulatory models incorporating journalists' representative bodies are recognised internationally as best practice when establishing media councils, and ensure ethics and press freedom remain central to the council's work."

PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat and Secretary General Amin Yousuf said the long-awaited establishment of the Press Council of Pakistan would help ensure press freedom and adherence to journalistic ethics.

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