Press Council, an achievement of democratic Govt: Dr Firdous

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting,Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday said it is an achievement of the democratic government that the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) is now complete and has become a functional body.She expressed these views during a meeting with Raja Muhammad Shafqat Khan, newly-appointed Chairman of the PCP who called on her here to discuss administrative and other issues related to the functioning of the Council.The Minister, while talking to the Chairman PCP said that the democratic government was inspired by the vision of the President  and the Prime Minister who has made the Press Council effective and operational in the light of the Ordinance issued in 2002.

She said that Pakistan is now at par with the neighbouring and  developed countries in ensuring freedom of press.The Minister emphasized that the government believed in the freedom to express thoughts without any fear and favour.She expressed the hope that the media in Pakistan will continue to play its vital role in informing, educating and entertaining the masses. The Press Council will play a role of bridge between common masses and media institutions, she added.The Minister assured Abbasi that the freedom of media is the cornerstone of the policies of the present democratic government and strengthening of vital institutions is the top most priority of the government.

She declared that with the establishment and functioning of the Press Council of Pakistan, the government has taken the steps to safeguard the fundamental rights of speech and freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.The Chairman Press Council informed the Minister that the Council will be an important forum for the redressal of the grievances of the people as well as of the media.He said that Council will be a non-partisan, independent and autonomous body which will be compatible with the regional and global institutions.He said that the Council will establish and follow the higher standard of professionalism in enforcing and implementing ethical code of practice.

He said that under the law, the Government has to provide necessary facilities and grant-in-aid for the establishment of the Head Office as well as four sub-offices in the provincial capitals.The Minister assured him that the Government will provide all necessary facilities for the smooth functioning of the Council.It may be mentioned here that the Press Council of Pakistan consists of 19 members including the Chairman.With the nomination of the Chairman the Council now stands completed and another pledge of the democratic government has been fulfilled to strengthen the institutions in the country. – APP