One tends to agree with SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan when she says that the print and electronic media is absolutely free and independent in the country and there is no bar or restriction whatsoever on any journalist, anchorperson or analyst about what to write and say and whatnot.

Tune in any tv channel, anchorpersons and analysts are saying all sorts of things clearly, and everything is going on air. Political leaders representing all major political parties are also invited in different programs, and talk shows to give vent to their thinking and views.

Similarly, the columns in the newspapers, as well as display of news in Urdu and English dailies, are enough to convince anyone that the media is free and independent in Pakistan. But while everyone is talking about freedom of press, hardly anyone says that this freedom of press and association should be exercised with restraints keeping in view the supreme national interests particularly sovereignty of the State, national security and defence. Being an old journalist, this scribe regretfully points out that objectivity has long been withered away and replaced by subjectivity. Everyone is free to express his/her views but this should better be done separately and the event or news should be presented and reported as objectively as possible. This is hardly being done these days and subjectivity takes precedence over objectivity when reporting any development leaving much to be desired.

Freedom of press, association or of anything else should better be excised by everyone with responsibility towards the nation and the country. Supreme national interests are important no matter what the situation, circumstances and political and vested interests demand.

M.Z.RIFAT

Lahore.