Associated Press of Pakistan


Associated Press of Pakistan

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) is a government-operated national news agency of Pakistan. It is not associated with the Associated Press agency (AP).

History

The authentic history of the Associated Press of Pakistan as told by the Founder of the Associated Press of Pakistan, Malik Tajuddin:

"

INITIAL CONTACT WITH QUAID-E-AZAM

The evolution of the Associated Press of Pakistan as the National News Agency owes its inspiration to the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam, with whom my initial contact was established in 1936 when I was in my late twenties and had hardly five years experience as a working journalist. The contact proved so fruitful and pregnant with possibilities that I was destined under his benevolent guidance and patronage to play a leading role in my particular sphere of professional activity.

The Quaid-e-Azam’s personal interest in my career further developed when I was posted in the Reuter’s Head Office for the East in Bombay in 1938-39. The “Deliverance Day” (December 22, 1939, observed in response to the call issue by the Quaid-e-Azam to commemorate the elimination of the Congress Ministries in the seven Provinces of India, owing to difference on the question of the war effort) brought me good luck, with the rest of the Muslims of India and I was instructed by the Reuter’s General Manager for the East to proceed to Lahore where the session of the All-India Muslim League was due to be held within three months.

I not only reported the historic session for the Indian and World Press but was able to establish countrywide acquaintance with the Muslim League leadership. As a pioneer in the news agency field, I received enthusiastic support from one and all.

My administrative sphere with headquarters at Lahore was gradually extended to cover Muslim India including the Princely State of Hyderabad and with the passage of time I was assigned the role of Reuter’s Advisor on Muslim Affairs in South Asia.

A note on my initial contact with the Quaid-e-Azam in enclosed as Appendix 1.

QUAID-E-AZAM’S DIRECTIVE

In September, 1944, after the historic Jinnah-Gandhi talks in Bombay the Quaid-e-Azam in a special interview granted to Malik Tajuddin told him that he was convinced that the emergence of an independent sovereign Muslim state was inevitable and that the time had come for Malik Tajuddin to take in hand preparatory work for the formation of Pakistan's national news agency.

Since the British Government’s tentative decision to transfer power to Indian hands indicated in the Cripps Offer the Indian newspapers acting together through Eastern and Indian Newspapers Society and the Indian Newspapers Editors Conference had been pressing Reuters for transfer to them of the control and ownership of the Associated Press of India. As by large the Indian newspapers with a strong pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim bias were owned and controlled by Hindu capitalists the Muslim cause went by default and the question of protection of the Muslim interests assumed fundamental importance during the Pakistan movement. But the Muslim newspapers, financially backward and otherwise disorganized as they were, failed to influence vital decisions concerning the Press.

ALL INDIA MUSLIM NEWSPAPERS ASSOCIATION

In the light of the Quaid-e-Azam’s directive, I felt it was my national duty to promote at first a representative organization of the Muslim newspapers in the Sub-continent as the Christian Editor of the Muslim League daily Dawn of Delhi, [http://josephclan.com/pothanjoseph.htm Mr Pothan Joseph,] could not be expected to discharge this responsibility. It was in these circumstances that I undertook a tour of India in the winter of 1944-45 to contact the proprietors and the Editors of the Muslim newspapers in an effort to persuade them to come together and organize themselves for the protection of the national and professional interests. The result was the formation of the All-India Muslim Newspapers Association – the forerunner of the Pakistan Newspaper Editors Conference (subsequently renamed as the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors) – at a meeting the Muslim newspapers held in the office of Dawn in Delhi in October, 1945. By this time the Quaid-e-Azam had selected Mr. Altaf Hussein, then Director of Public Relations, Bengal, to relieve [http://josephclan.com/pothanjoseph.htm Mr Pothan Joseph] , I proposed Mr. Altaf Hussein for the office of the President of the newly-formed Association. Henceforth he and I were to collaborate for the cause of the Muslim Press.

EMERGENCE OF REUTER-OWNED A.P.P.

Subsequently at my request the Association passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Muslim News Agency. Armed with this resolution I called upon Reuters to divide the Associated Press of India into two separate news agencies before seriously considering the demand for transfer of the Indian Agency to the Indian, rather Hindu newspapers. The negotiations with Reuters culminated in the formation of the Reuter-owned Associated Press of Pakistan (the A.P.P.) on 1st January, 1949, with myself as its Chief Executive exercising national control but accountable to reuters London on financial matters as a first step towards the evolution of Pakistan’s national news agency.

Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan as the Managing Director of Dawn, Delhi, was kept posted with the developments and in April, 1947, when he was the Finance Minister in the Interim Government of India he advised me that since the newspapers in Pakistan would be struggling to find their feet and would not be able to finance the A.P.P. during the initial stage, it would be best to persuade Reuters to finance it with national control in my hands. How correctly he foresaw was established by the subsequent developments.

FOUNDATION OF THE PAKISTAN TIMES

During my special interview with the Quaid-e-Azam in September 1944, I had stressed the imperative necessity to promote first class English dailies at Lahore and Karachi which lacked such organs while the Morning News of Calcutta, owned by a cousin of Khawaja Nazimuddin, was expected to shift to Dacca. I offered to do spade work in Lahore in collaboration with the Punjab Muslim League leadership. As a result of these efforts, The Pakistan Times made its appearance on 4th February, 1947. I was nominated on the foundation Board of Directors but subsequently I transferred my shares to the A.P.P. Trust as my primary concern was the formation of a national news agency.

As for Karachi, Dawn came to be published from there under the auspices of The Pakistan Herald Limited promoted by the House of Sir Abdullah Haroon under an agreement approved by the Father of the Nation. This provided the basic framework to support the national news agency of Pakistan

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

In the meanwhile the Eastern and Indian Newspapers Society and the Indian Newspaper Editors Conference promoted a private limited company of newspapers called the Press Trust of India and opened negotiations with Reuters for transfer of control and ownership of the Associated Press of India. These negotiations culminated in 1949 in the Reuter – P.T.I. partnership for coverage of the world news with special Indian emphasis on the news coverage from the regions between Cairo and Singapore – an early indicated of India’s political ambition for a sphere of influence.

As this partnership was bound to prove detrimental to Pakistan's national interests it was felt that the Reuter-owned A.P.P. was its best an interim solution and that the question of its transfer to complete national control could not brook delay.

PRIVATED LIMITED COMPANY

It was against this background that the question of promoting a private limited company of newspapers similar to the Press Trust of India was taken in hand with which the Government of Pakistan was associated through Radio Pakistan as a precautionary safeguard against the possible inability of the newly established newspapers to come forward to finance it. But as foreseen by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan nearly three years earlier the scheme failed to materialize and the company was formally wound up during the second fortnight of December, 1949, in the office of the then Joint Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Division of the Ministry of the Interior, Information and Broadcasting, Dr. S.M. Ikram. I as the principal promoter and Mr. Muhammed Sarfaraz, then Directors of News, Radio Pakistan, signed the winding up document which was retained in the record of the Division.

A.P.P. TRUST

After taking into account the background of the case and in order to avoid any future criticism Chaudhri Muhammed Ali, then Secretary-General to the Government of Pakistan inspired the creation of an independent trust and the Ministry of the Interior, Information and Broadcasting advised me accordingly.

I, then proceeded to Lahore to seek the blessings of Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh at whose shrine the A.P.P. Trust was founded in January, 1950. The necessary formalities to complete the Trust scheme were then gone through. The Government of Pakistan and the national newspapers were provided due representation on the Board of Trustees and I as the Chief Executive of the A.P.P. assumed the role of the Managing Trustee retaining my existing powers under the supervision and control of the Board of Trustees. Dr. S.M. Ikram, then Joint Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Division, personally took his seat in the Board of Trustees as representative of Radio Pakistan in the interest of ready availability of Government advice during the formative stage of the A.P.P. The chair was given to a nominee of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Sir Abdul Rashid who exercised this right in favour of Mr. Justice W.M. Vellani of the Chief Court of Sind who before his elevation to the Bench had served as the legal advisor of the A.P.P.

At my request Mr. Mumtaz Mirza, then Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance (who was subsequently posted as the Financial Advisor, Ministry of Defence) was permitted by Mr. Abdul Qadir (father of Lt. General Saeed Qadir), then Finance Secretary, to act as Honorary Financial Advisor of the Trust, and this completed the set-up.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

It may, however, be mentioned that The Pakistan Times was accommodated in the Board of Trustees on the advice of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, then Governor of the Punjab, while Pir Ali Muhammed Rashidi, then Editor of the Sind Observer of Karachi, was nominated by then Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Khawaja Shahabuddin, to ensure the national character and complexion of the Trust.

Thus the first Board of Trustees consisted of the following:

1. The Chairman, who was nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (Mr. Justice W.M. Vellani).2. Malik Tajuddin, Managing Trustee3. Dr. S.M. Ikram (Radio Pakistan)4. Mr. M.A. Ispahani (East Pakistan Press)5. Mr. Altaf Hussein (Dawn Karachi)6. Syed Amir Hussein (Pakistan Times Lahore)7. Maulana Akhter Ali Khan (President of the Pakistan Newspapers Editors Conference)8. Pir Ali Muhammed Rashidi (Sind Observer Karachi)9. Mr. H.M. Habibullah as a person engaged in commerce and interested in the news services of the Trust.

A few months later the Board of Trustees decided to set up a Standing Committee consisting of (1) a Trustee representing the newspapers, (2) the Honorary Financial Advisor and (3) the Managing Trustee which met once a month and the Financial Advisor checked the monthly accounts.

BOARD OF MANAGEMENT
When the constitution of the Trust was revised in June, 1979, the Standing Committee was re-designated as the Board of Management composed as follows:

1. The Managing Trustee2. A nominee of the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting3. A Trustee representing the newspapers.

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC NEWS AGENCY

Although the basic Trust Deed was drafted by me and the legal phraseology was furnished by Mr. Justice Vellani, the clause which gave the Trust an International complexion and sowed the seed of an International Islamic News Agency was inserted in the Trust Deed after a second visit to the Mazar of Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh in March 1950. The actual nomenclature, however, took root in my mind after I paid respectful homage to the Holy Prophet at Medina a year afterwards.

PRIME MINISTER’S CONCURRENCE

Prime Minister Liqauat Ali Khan not only gave him concurrence for the formation of the Trust but directed the Ministry of the Interior, Information and Broadcasting that facilities should be extended to me to enable me to visit the various Muslim State for the promotion of the International Islamic News Agency but his sudden and tragic assassination on 16th October, 1951, interrupted this pioneering activity and the A.P.P. could not escape the impact of the political conflict which followed the assassination.

A note on Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan’s role in promoting the International Islamic News Agency forms Appendix II.

REUTER – P.T.I. PARTNERSHIP

Before I unfold the details of the conspiracy, it is necessary to recall that after the formation of the A.P.P. Trust I felt impelled by national interests to devise effective measures, in consultation with the Government of Pakistan to break the Reuters – PTI partnership before it took firm root and did irreparable damage to Muslim interests in the region between Cairo and Singapore.

The partnership envisaged the nomination of a representative of the Press Trust of India on the Board of Directors of Reuters in London. Another nominee of the PTI was to be associated as a Trustee of Reuters Trust which is in the nature of a Policy Trust. On the executive level as senior Indian journalist of the status of an Ambassador was deputed by the Press Trust of India to control and supervise the compilation of Reuters world news service to be beamed to India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon, Iran and Afghanistan. Mr. Parthsrathy (son of Sir Gopalawami Ayenger, former Prime Minister of Kashmir) who was closely connected with THE HINDU (an important daily of South India) whose Managing Editor was the Chairman of the Indian Newspapers Editors Conference, was selected for this assignment and after the dissolution of the Reuters –PTI partnership was appointed the Indian Ambassador to China. Thus India came to occupy a position of great influence which could jeopardise Pakistan’s natural interests at any stage and create misgivings between Pakistan and other Muslim States. Pakistan vehemently resisted the partnership scheme and Reuters responded with a triple safeguard. First, a Pakistani journalist was too be appointed on the staff of Reuters in London; secondly, a supplementary beam called the Eastern Beam to transmit news items of special interest to Pakistan was to be leased at Pakistan’s expense from the British Post Office and thirdly, a British Correspondent was to be posted in Karachi to exclude the Indian influence. Subsequently, Reuters also agreed to train a couple of Pakistan journalists deputed by Associated Press of Pakistan. Messrs. A. Hakim and Safdar Qureshi benefited from this arrangement.

These safeguards, though welcome, were found inadequate and a suggestion was then put forward that a nominee of the Associated Press of Pakistan could be associated with Reuters Trust as a Trustee but as it did not meet the requirements of the situation it was dropped. Pakistan had no choice but to carry on a relentless campaign to undo the partnership.

ASSOCIATED PRESS OF AMERICA

After careful consideration it was decided, in consultation wit the Government of Pakistan, that the Associated Press of America, owned and controlled by the newspapers of the United States, should be persuaded to establish relations with the Associated Press of Pakistan. I understood that the Government of Pakistan had made an approach to the authorities of the Associated Press of America in New York through diplomatic channels with no satisfactory response.

In order to implement this decision I sent a personal cable to 71 year old Mr. Cooper, then Executive Director of the American Agency, expressing desire to establish relations with the great organization over which he presided. A lukewarm formal reply was received that I should contact the Associated Press Vice-President in London under whose jurisdiction Pakistan came. This meant a personal visit to London.

Fortunately, at this stage (March 1951) the Government of Pakistan provided me with a ready opportunity. A Press Delegation was due to leave for Egypt at the invitation of the Government of Egypt and its personnel had already been finalized with Pir Muhammad Rashidi as its leader. I was included in the delegation at the last minute as its alternate leader. At the conclusion of the visit to Egypt I was to proceed to London.

While I was in Cairo, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan announced in the Parliament that the Government of France had agreed to permit an independent observer nominated by the Government of Pakistan to study at first hand the situation in Morocco where the Sultan was threatened with deposition by the French for his sympathies with the Istiqlal (Independence) movement launched by its nationalist leader Al Fassi calling for and of the French rule in Morocco. The Prime Minister stated that I had been selected for the mission but actually I was to function as the Prime Minister’s Personal Envoy to the Sultan of Morocco Al-Malik Al-Yusuf. This paved the way for my two successive visits ot London in March and May, 1951 for talks with the Vice-President of the Associated Press of America and eventually the issue was settled during my third visit in July, 1951, on the occasion of Reuter’s centenary celebrations over which Mr. Cooper as the senior-most news agency executive in the world presided.

It appeared that the Reuters and the Associated Press of America had entered into a mutual understanding to confine their respective operations to exclusive advantage in different regions of the world. In pursuance of this understanding the Associated Press of America had withdrawn from the field in South Asia and Reuters had entered into partnership with the Press Trust of India for the protection of British interests but the American Agency retained the right to make an exception. Mr. Cooper alone could exercise discretion in the matter. The question was how to win him over.

It was observed during the centenary celebrations that Mr. Cooper was accompanied by a pretty young wife who had previously served as his Secretary and became his spouse when the old man lost him first wife. Mr. Cooper was greatly attached to her. My wife suggested that contact should be established with Mrs. Cooper and that the pettycoat influence would yield a satisfactory result.

We had planned in advance to carry with us a newly stitched embroidered Pakistani lady dress to be presented to a suitable party at the centenary celebrations. At the conclusion of the celebrations my wife expressed desire to call on Mrs. Cooper before returning home. Mrs. Cooper invited us to coffee at her suite at the Savoy Hotel. After exchange of pleasantries over a cup of coffee my wife presented the fancy dress to Mrs. Cooper and both she and her husband were greatly enamoured and Mr. Cooper asked what he could do for us. I reminded him of the personal cable sent to him six months earlier whereupon Mr. Cooper instructed New York by cable to accede to my wishes thereby turning a new leaf in establishing relations with the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Thus was achieved the objective for which diplomatic efforts had proved futile.

REUTER-P.T.I. PARTNERSHIP DISSOLUTION AND AFTERMATH

Reuters received this development with great surprise and for a time it affected the cordial relations between the Associated Press of Pakistan and Reuters and a period of estrangement followed with certain interests in Pakistan sought to exploit to damage my images. But as the issue concerned Pakistan’s vital interests, no direct or indirect pressure on the Managing Trustee of the national news agency could avail.

The Associated Press of America filled the gaps in the Reuters world news service and not only contributed to the finalization of the A.P.P. set-up in accordance with our national aspirations but paved the way for the dissolution of Reuter-P.T.I. partnership.

On my return to Pakistan in August, 1951, the development was reported to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan who expressed deep appreciated of the manner in which the situation had been handled.

This was the arrangement which Mr. Hashim Raza sought to terminate when he succeeded Dr S.M. Ikram as the Joint Secretary incharge, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in August 1953 but suffered a severe jolt when Prime Minister Muhammed Ali Bogra ruled in favour of status quo on a policy file submitted to him by the Ministry after the A.P.P. Board meeting of 3rd September 1953 the first and the last meeting attended by Mr. Hashim Raza as a Trustee of the Eastern News Trust.

The text of the resolution proposed by him was duly recorded in he Minute’s Book of the Trust in possession of the Government of Pakistan but the proposals embodied in the resolution failed to make any headway because Prime Minister Muhammed Ali Bogra rejected the new line of Policy, dictated to the A.P.P. Board by Mr. Hashim Raza who thereupon was left with no choice but to withdraw from the A.P.P. Board and as a matter of formality the then Controller of Broadcasting Mr. Z.A. Bokhari succeeded him.

Prime Minister Muhammed Ali Bogra had acted upon the advice of Chaudhari Muhammad Ali, then Finance Minister, who as the Secretary-General had inspired the creation of an independent trust to control the A.P.P. and had advised the Agency’s link-up with the Associated Press of America.

The truth is that Mr. Hashim Raza fell a victim to a conspiracy promoted by a political faction opposed to the government of the day and the inner circle of the Government was fully seized of the developments.

After studying the Prime Minister’s verdict on the policy file, Mr. Hashim Raza called me to his office, I think, about the middle of November and advised me to negotiate a new agreement with Reuters by proceeding to London, if necessary. I shook hands with him and as a token of reconciliation brought for his wife from London a gift of her choice. I thought that the cordial handshake would open a new chapter of pleasant relations but it appears that Mr. Hashim Raza took the reverse to his heart and decided to pursue the vendetta by promoting a campaign against me in a Karachi newspaper whom he extended generous patronage but as I had become impervious to press attacks since 1940 by the powerful Hindu Press of Lahore it failed to move me. He then promoted criticism against the A.P.P. in the Press Commission when he had set up. A satisfactory reply to his criticism was furnished to the Ministry and will be found in the official record.

The Trustees informally reviewed the situation and came to the conclusion that the supreme control of the Trust should be handed over to the Chief Justice of Pakistan who should be vested with extraordinary powers to give such direction to the Trustees as he may deem fit and to preside over the meetings of the Board of Trustees at such time and place as may suit his convenience.

A deputation of the Trustees consisting of (1) Mr. Hameed Nizami, founder of Daily Nawa-I-Waqt, (2) Khawaja Nazir Ahmed, an eminent Advocate and Chairman of Civil and Military Gazette and (3) the Managing Trustee waited on Justice Mohammed Munir who had succeeded Sir Abdul Rashid as the Chief Justice, and represented that in view of the grave political conflict in the country, he may be pleased to assume the supreme control of the A.P.P. Trust. After considering the matter the Chief Justice acceded to the request “pending restoration of normal conditions”.

Thus a provision for the establishment of the Policy of Authority of the Trust was included in the Deed of Declaration of the Trust and the Chief Justice became its President.

Mr. Justice B.Z. Kaikus succeeded Mr. Justice Munir in February, 1957, after the inauguration of the Constitution of 1956.

In the meanwhile the Martial Law was proclaimed in October, 1958 and General Muhammad Ayub Khan became President and Chief Martial Law Administrator.

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Lack of financial resources

Following Pakistan's independence, the new-born country's press was economically weak, and was thus unable to financially support the agency. APP asked the Government of Pakistan for financial support, which was granted in the form of loans and subsidies. Government support enabled APP to subscribe to the services of the world's news agencies and to open offices in major cities of the country.

Government takeover

The financial situation of APP continued to deteriorate until it was on the verge of collapse. This was the direct result of the withholding of payment of arrears from the Government of Pakistan due from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in an effort to create a financial crisis for the national news agency. It owed about Rs. 8 laks to the government's Post and Telegraph Department and another Rs. 12 laks in unpaid subscription fees to foreign news agencies. The Government of Pakistan intervened and took over the agency on 15 July 1961 following the instruction of certain vested interests within the Government of Pakistan.

The take over took place with several changes: Malik Tajuddin was removed and A K Qureshi, a senior government officer with some journalistic experience, was hired as Administrator of APP. The head office of the agency was shifted to Islamabad, the new capital of Pakistan. While the financial position of the agency further deteriorated, but its coverage became more biased as the government started to use it as an official mouthpiece. A K Qureshi was a member of the ill-fated National Press Trust delegation traveling to London by PIA Flight 705 that crashed at Cairo on May 20, 1965. He is buried in a mass grave at Cairo alongside his fellow passengers: victims of Pakistan's first jet aircraft disaster.

Editorial operation

Besides its head office in Islamabad, APP maintains three bureaux (Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi) and nine news centres (Sukkur, Multan, Quetta, Faisalabad, Larkana, Hyderabad, Bahawalpur, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad).

The editorial function of any news agency is same as that of a newspaper i.e. it is divided between reporting teams and the news desk. In smaller centres, the editorial staff consists of a reporter and a sub-editor. In the larger bureaux of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, the reporting team is composed of about twelve reporters, responsible for specific beats such as economy, sports, crime, national and provincial assemblies or major government departments. These news desks are responsible for copy-writing and for coordinating activities of the reporting team. They also handle press releases of government information and private companies.

The whole news operation is monitored by a Central News Desk (CND) located at the head office. News stories from all bureaux are sent to Islamabad for editing and from there the combined service is distributed nationally. The CND is connected with at least four international satellite circuits for receiving foreign news via a computer network:
*Reuters from Hong Kong
*Agence France-Presse from Paris
*Associated Press from London
*Xinhua from Hong Kong

Communication networks

Despite APP being considered Pakistan's “premier” news agency, for decades the agency ran on old, obsolete and unreliable equipment. News copy was being carried on a 50-baud duplex circuit between Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

Mr. M. Aftab, APPs General-Manager in 1991, undertook to improve the agency's technical resources. The resulting upgrade saw a transformation of data output speed from 50 words per minute (WMP) to 1200 WPM, most of which is now directly fed into the computers of the subscribers simultaneously throughout Pakistan and overseas.

ubscribers

Being the national news agency of Pakistan, APP collects and disseminate domestic and international news to 84 (1992) newspapers of Pakistan besides Radio, television and government offices and some foreign media. APP’s subscription rates are higher than other agencies in Pakistan because of its monopoly of world news agencies. For this reason every newspaper in Pakistan cannot subscribe to its services. Notable subscribers to APP's services include: "Dawn", "Pakistan Times", "Frontier Post", "The Nation", "The News International", "Business Recorder" and "Nawa-i-Waqt".

taff

The number of APP's employees is estimated at between 350 and 400, of whom over 100 are journalists and photographers. The remainder are administrative staff, including computer engineers, technicians, peons, traffic attendants, data entry operators and finance staff.

In addition there are a small number of "stringers" (part time correspondents) at various district headquarters in Pakistan and aboard.

After decades gap the system of journalists posting aboard was revived during the first tenure of Mr. M. Aftab. He secured approval of the Ministry to post four senior journalists as special correspondents in Washington D.C., London, Beijing and New Delhi.ITS CLOSLEY RELATED TO AFGHAN PREE AGENCY AND THE KASHMIR FREEDOM AGENCY TOO.

Management and financing

APP is a government organisation, responsible to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The agency is headed by a Director-General, appointed by the Ministry. Fazal Ur Rehman is the current Managing Director of APP, who is not a journalist but a Press Information Department.

Since the government takeover, APP has continued with an undefined status – neither an official government body nor an independent news outfit, APP has drawn criticism as a mouthpiece for the government of the day. In 1998, however, a Bill was proposed to convert APP into a corporation. A committee of media pundits is reportedly engaged in drafting APP corporation bylaw for final approval of the government.

Due to this unclear status, there is no long-term financing in place for APP, with allocations being made on an annual basis by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. APP’s annual expenditure is now placed at Rs. 140 million. APP generates 600% of its revenue from the government, and the remainder is raised through subscription from electronic media including television and radio and newspapers as well as foreign news agencies, business and non-media subscribers.

ervices provided by APP

News service

The APP News Service is mainly divided into three main areas: official, political and district news.

Official news

APP gives a more detailed coverage to the activities and statements of government dignitaries. Newspapers and the government-controlled radio and television rely to the greater extent on APP for government news. According to renowned journalist Zamir Niazi::"Most of the time and energy of APP since the days of Ayub Khan is being consumed in creeding long speeches of the president and other ministries, the rest are allocated to the government press notes and other lesser government functionaries."

Political news

Being the government agency, APP has extensively concentrated on government news thus neglecting cultural, political, economic and other sectors of national life. Even more damaging to the credibility of APP has been the repeated use of agency to carry out disinformation and smear campaigns against opposition leaders and parties.

According to Niazi:

:"How APP has functioned and what is its credibility among its client and public at large is another sorry chapter in the story of our press... the agency has served its masters one after the other with equal zeal and perfect consistency. Thus it gained the notoriety of being a center of news management, fabrication and distortions."

District news

APP's district news service is not highly regarded, as it's resources are so thinly-placed across the country that most of the information from this department comes from government information officers.

Foreign news

APP has become the main source of international news for the Pakistani media. The agency subscribes to Reuters, AFP, and the Associated Press of America (AP). United Press International was also linked with APP, but the agreement was allowed to lapse.

APP has co-operation agreements with some 35 news agencies, mainly in third world countries. Under these agreements, news is exchanged on a barter basis. Prominent among these are the Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran), the Press Trust of India, and MENA (Egypt).

Commercial service

The commercial service of APP provides currency and commodity rates from Reuters, financial and economic services, banks and large business houses. APP planned to expand this service, but suffered a setback in the mid-1980s when Reuters bypassed APP and began to sell its financial services directly to business houses and newspapers in Pakistan.

Photo service

APP has its own photographic section equipped with photo receivers and photo transmitters in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta respectively. Islamabad is the head office to receive photographs from within Pakistan and aboard, and transmits them to the agency's bureaux and stations which distribute them to local newspapers.

Urdu service

The agency’s Urdu language service started in the 1980s to cater for the needs of growing fleet of Urdu language dailies in Pakistan. The idea behind the setting up of the service was to avoid errors and ensure accuracy. As a practice, Urdu speech was often translated into English by the APP and then back into Urdu by newspaper editor – greatly increasing the chances of translation, emphasis or context errors. The Urdu Service, while still small, has been effective in producing text in both languages.

External links

* [http://www.app.com.pk/ www.app.com.pk] - Associated Press of Pakistan official website
* [http://www.apakistannews.com/ Pakistan News]

External links - Relevant

* [http://www.nni-news.com.pk/ www.nni-news.com.pk] - News Network International: NNI


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