GILGIT: The assistant commissioner of Gilgit, exercising his powers as sub-divisional magistrate, has issued notices to the people in charge of two dailies and a monthly magazine for allegedly publishing news stories against the government of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
The notice, a copy of which is available with Dawn, says that Daily K-2, Daily Ausaf and monthly Kargil published on Jan 17 news stories which the government believes were instigative and spread hatred against the GB government.
The in-charges of these publications were told to appear before the magistrate on Jan 30, or be ready for legal action.
When contacted, senior journalist Manzar Shigri told Dawn that it was an attack on the freedom of the press.
“The assistant commissioner has no right to issue notices to media houses,” he said, claiming that the officer had misused his authority.
He pointed out that taking suo motu notice fell within the purview of the chief justice of the region.
“It [the assistant commissioner’s action] is also against Article 7 of Constitution of Pakistan which grants the freedom of speech,” he said.
Prominent lawyer Amjad Hussain said issuance of the notice to newspapers for publishing a news story against the government was illegal and unconstitutional.
He said it was the responsibility of the Press and Information Department to monitor newspapers and the assistant commissioner had no authority to ban freedom of media.
“It is an attack on the freedom of media, we condemn it,” he said.
Published in Dawn January 29th, 2017