Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that Electronic Media Directorate (EMD) would be established to facilitate electronic media.Addressing the APNS Regional Press Convention-2011 here on Saturday, she said that EMD would also sort matters pertaining to issues of government advertisements to electronic media while the Press Information Department (PID) would look into affairs of print media. With the emergence of electronic media in Pakistan, the PID ad qouta for print media has now been divided as a major share goes to TV channels, she said, adding that the government would evolve a mechanism to ensur parity in the distribution of ads to the print and electronic media. The Information Minister said the government was fully aware of problems of workers of the newspaper industry, for which effective steps were being taken to ameliorate their lot. In this regard, she referred to a recent meeting of representatives of various journalist bodies with President Asif Ali Zardari, who directed authorities concerned to take measures to provide newspapers workers with facilities including life and health insurance as well as those available to other industrial workers under Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI).
Regarding the Wage Board Award, she said the case was pending in the court and hoped it would be decided in near future, adding the government did not want to impose anything on newspaper owners and would evolve a policy in consultation with them which was acceptable and beneficial for both workers and owners. Appreciating the role of regional newspapers in highlighting regional issues, she said they needed to be patronised and the government was doing everything possible to facilitate them.Terming the media the ear and eye of government and society, she stressed for balanced reporting of events, adding “Media should show both sides of the picture; while criticising the government it should also highlight its good works and provide guidance on various issues.”She said it was the era of media and it had to play its role with full responsibility in resolving people problems. The minister felicitated the APNS for holding the successful convention.
Later, responding to questions, the minister said electronic media should play a more vibrant and responsible role in projecting the soft image of the country.She said electronic media was going through a evolutionary process it was good that it was learning from mistakes. She said for capacity building and training of anchors, researchers and other professionals of electronic media a media university would be established and China had shown interest in this regard.
Appreciating media for highlighting people problems, she said media should also guide people and the government for solution of problems. She said the government was committed to the policy of freedom of media as per the philosophy of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and immediately after taking over it scrapped all laws that were against media freedom. – App