Govt committed to provide security, insurance, risk coverage to media: Ranjha

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha Tuesday said that the government was committed to provide security, insurance and risk coverage to the media houses and working journalists.


Addressing the participants of seminar “World Press Day Right to information legislation and safety of journalists” he said several steps had been taken by Information Ministry for the well-being of journalist community including provision of financial assistance in case a journalist loses his life while performing his duty.

The government, he said, would take all possible steps to help the families of martyred journalists who lost their lives while performing their professional duties.

He said “Pakistan is a democratic country and believes that the role of free media as watchdog is intrinsic to a democratic policy. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and media in Pakistan is free to express its views and opinions.”

However, he said “We expect that media persons will abide by the ethics of journalism while carrying out their professional duties.”

Shahnawaz Ranjha said there was a general feeling that sensationalism in media was driven by media outlets to win the race for rating.

He said race between speed and accuracy was unfortunately being won by speed, which was neither healthy nor sustainable.

“This government has and will never dictate. We expect the media to abide by certain norms, national interest is supreme, information that can create chaos and anarchy in the society is in no one’s interest” he said.

He said the government had adopted a media policy which was tolerant of criticism and welcome suggestions adding the government was also committed to facilitate media person irrespective of whether they were of local or foreign origin.

“Our media policy is founded on the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 9 and article 19 and 19-A of the constitution” he added.

He said that Pakistan was the custodian of a culture and heritage which represented a message of peace, amity and love.

He said the government policy towards media was anchored on projecting a positive image of Pakistan and mitigate negative propaganda and apprehensions against it.

The profiling of Pakistan as a radical and intolerant society needs to be alleviated through projecting what Pakistan really is a democratic and liberal society.

“The media in Pakistan is independent, vibrant and dynamic” he said.

He said, “We have 91 satellite channels, 26 channels have been given landing rights, 205 FM radio channels, 4 mobile TV channels and 3 mobile audio channels besides over 2,500 newspapers, periodicals and magazines in Pakistan”.

The Parliamentary Secretary said the cornerstone of the government’s media policy was to promote responsible and a free media, growth, development and facilitation of the media, access to information, to play role in the promotion of economic, social and political values across the social landscape of the country.

He said media today was burdened with the dual responsibility of conveying facts to the people as well as creating awareness.

“Self-regulation within the media organizations must be developed to ensure dissemination on real public issues” he said.

He said if the media persons were not safe, media could not be safe and journalism could not be professional.

“We are ready to work with journalist community to keep our journalists safe and our media free and professional” he said.

He said a high powered committee had been constituted in this regard and it was led by the minister for information, minister of state for interior, advisor to PM and secretary information as its members.

The committee would come up with recommendations to enhance the security and safety of media person and work closely with media outlets.

“We hope that media will also quickly come up with a voluntary charter on safety of journalists including protocols, mechanisms and tools that will be endorsed by all media stakeholders and adopted a implemented at media houses” he said.

He said PID and ICT police would arrange media workshop on orientation of security issues in Islamabad in collaboration with federal and provincial press clubs and media houses.

The government was working on a Right to Information Bill (RIT) so that the media could have access to the correct and bonafide information, he added.

The government, he said was working on creating Endowment fund for the welfare of media persons.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Pakistan Ms. Jeannette Sppen and UNESCO representative to Pakistan Ms Vibeke Jensen also spoke on the occasion.

Source: APP

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