The All Pakistan Newspapers Society is a premier body of newspaper publishers, which has been headed by such august personalities as Mr. Hamid Nizami , Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman , Mian Iftekharuddin, Mr. Fakhre Matri , Mr.Hamid Mahmood, Mr. Yousuf Haroon, Mr. Mahmood Haroon, Mr. A.G. Mirza, Mr. Majid Nizami, Kazi Mohammad Akber, Mr. Munawar Hidayet Ullah, Mr. Hameed Haroon, Mr. Shakil-ur-Rehman, Mr. K.M.Hamid Ullah and Mr. Anwarul Islam of Pakistan Observer Dacca.
The Pakistan Newspapers Society, a precursor to the APNS, was established in 1950, primarily due to the efforts of the late Messrs Hameed Nizami and Hamid Mahmood. It functioned for a number of years but could not receive much support or recognition either from the publishers and advertising agencies in general and the authorities in power in particular. Publishers' organizations also functioned in East Pakistan and Karachi but these provincial bodies could not effectively represent the interests of the newspaper industry.
In the year 1958, it was decided to form the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, merging all the existing groups of publishers. It was also decided to establish the headquarters of this organization at Karachi, as at that time the majority of the major publications originated from there. It took some time to be organized on a professional basis. A rented premises for the office was obtained in Farid Chambers, from where it continues to function till end of 2011 when a beautiful and huge building was constructed at Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi.
The formation of an organization of publishers was critically required to facilitate the exchange of their views on matters of common interest among newspaper owners. The APNS successfully afforded to newspaper owners the means to watch over, protect, preserve and promote the rights and interests of the newspaper industry on matters directly or indirectly affecting their rights and interests. The APNS remained very active in handling the problems faced by its members vis-à-vis the provincial and central governments relating to advertisements, clearance of dues, taxes and duties and newsprint. It became a force to be reckoned with in the publishing and advertising world and laid down rules of conduct for member publications as well as the advertising agencies. One of the major rules framed being the accreditation of advertising agencies by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, introducing security deposits and clearance schedule to member publications within a specified period. Non-payment of bills of any publications, big or small, carried the penalty of suspension till such time that all the bills were cleared. Thus the Society has successfully evolved a mechanism of streamlining advertisement and clearance system protecting the collective interests of its member publications, advertising agencies as well as advertisers. The APNS Secretariat not only handles the complaints of its members against non-payment by advertising agencies but it also puts its best efforts to settle the disputes between advertising agencies and their clients. The system of enlistment of clients of accredited advertising agencies effectively safeguards the interests of the agencies. Under this system listed clients are not allowed to release their ads in any member publication without the clearance by the concerned agency.
The significance of this Organization is duly reflected in the fact that it provides a bridge between the Governments, newspapers and the advertising agencies. It was an accepted reality that the newspapers and the advertising agencies are the two wheels of the same carriage and not antagonistic rivals. They compliment each other and the existence of one is inextricably linked with that of the other. However, in order to make the liaison between newspapers and advertising agencies closer and firmer the APNS had taken positive steps to consolidate the mutual relationship. The Society also endeavored to encourage, promote and develop the science and art of journalism and newspaper industry and in this connection, in 1981, the APNS instituted advertising awards in various categories to promote advertising, particularly designing and copy writing, giving a big fillip to advertising profession in Pakistan. Subsequently the Journalist Awards were launched in 1982. The awards ceremonies are being regularly held since 1981 and so far, 24 annual award ceremonies have been held.
The APNS has extended its protective umbrella to publications from small towns and also to the regional language press that had enhanced the representative character of the Society. Over the years the APNS has grown into a true representative body of newspapers and magazines all over the country. In 1971 there were 41 publications on the roll of the Society whereas in 2022 the number rose to 471.
The APNS, throughout its history has originated and promoted improvements in the press laws and supported or opposed alterations therein. The Society had launched a protracted struggle against the PPO along with organizations of editors and journalists. The struggle resulted in the quashing of this anti-press law and the introduction of relatively better law in the form of the RPPO. In 1999, the APNS had prepared a set of press laws including the Draft for the formation of Press Council in Pakistan, Registration of Printing Presses, Newspapers Ordinance and a draft Freedom of Information Act. After thorough discussions among the APNS, CPNE and the Ministry of Information, the drafts on the Press Council and the Registration of Presses and Newspapers were finalized and enacted in 2002.
The member publications are rapidly adopting modern techniques and facilities and trained manpower in all fields to cope with the challenges ahead especially due to the growth of the electronic media. It is heartening that many newspapers and magazines brought out in Pakistan maintain journalistic and publishing standards in line with the international press and are enjoying the facilities offered by information technology.
The APNS is recognized by International Newspapers fraternity and was accepted as member by the World Association of Newspapers in 2009.
The APNS held a South Asian Media Summit on February 20, & 21, 2013 at Islamabad wherein media practitioners from across South Asia attended.