Journalists boycott Senate proceedings.

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has referred complaints of “unannounced media censorship” and disruption in the distribution of Dawn to the Standing Committee on Information and asked it to present its report in one week.

The decision came on Thursday after a boycott of the Senate session by journalists in response to a call given by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), headed by Afzal Butt.

The journalists began their boycott of the Senate proceedings during the session and went out of the press gallery.Earlier, caretaker In­forma­tion Minister Ali Zafar and Rehman Malik, who chairs the upper house’s Standing Commit­tee on Interior, approached journalists and enquired about the reason for their boycott.

Afzal Butt, the PFUJ president, told them that the media was being subjected to censorship and hawkers were not being allowed to deliver copies of Dawn in cantonments.

Mr Butt said journalists had held a protest against the restrictions on July 5 and on July 11 solidarity camps were set up outside the offices of Dawn across the country.

He said the PFUJ had decided to continue its protest and boycott parliamentary proceedings and other events to record its concerns over challenges to media freedom.

Information Minister Ali Zafar said the matter would be discussed in the house and offered to refer it to a parliamentary committee.

The journalists’ representatives said the committee should be given a time frame to resolve the issue, preferably before the caretaker government ends its tenure.

Later, a number of Sena­tors belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party, in their speeches, raised questions about the credibility of elections in the absence of a free media.