Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday said that the government of Pakistan was striving to promote independent and responsible journalism.
In a tweet marking World Press Freedom Day, the minister said that this year the government would bring new projects for journalists, especially for young journalists and introducing latest media technologies was also on the agenda.
Fawad Hussain paid tributes to those journalists who sacrificed their lives while performing their professional duties.
He said that telling the truth was the most difficult task in history and journalists around the world have done their part to speak the truth.
He said that journalists from Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), Palestine and other areas go through daily hardships to write the truth.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to ensure free and independent media, Fawad Hussain said the present regime under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarded the freedom of press as a fundamental, democratic and constitutional right which needed to be protected.
In a message on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, he said the development of an independent and responsible media was vital as it played a constructive role in nation-building as the fourth pillar of the state. He said, “We join the journalist community in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day. On this auspicious occasion we reiterate the abiding commitment of Government of Pakistan to ensure free and independent media in the country which stems from our unswerving belief that freedom of expression is the foundation stone of any modern, progressive, civilized and democratic society.”
The minister categorically said there was no concept of media censorship in the country, whatsoever. He said media in Pakistan enjoyed unprecedented freedom to report, be it politics, economy or any other area. He said, “The government neither believes nor practises any press advice. Rather it encourages self-regulation by media.”
The federal government, Fawad said, was taking all possible measures to create a congenial environment for the journalists to perform their professional obligations.
He said the number of steps undertaken to ensure welfare and security of the journalists and media workers include, the announcement of 8th Wage Board Award, the establishment of Information Commission and pursuing a legal frame work (Journalist Protection Bill) that would go a long way in ensuring safety and security of the journalist community.
He said Ministry of Information fully supported the idea of Journalists Protection Act and was striving to get it through. “Likewise we are keen to equip Pakistan media with modern technologies and improve human resource.”
The working journalists under a certain criteria would a be accommodated in the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme, he said, adding the government was also contemplating to award Sehat Insaf cards to media persons to enable them avail healthcare facilities for themselves and their families.
The minister paid tributes to the martyrs of journalism who lost their lives in pursuit of truth and upholding honour and sanctity of the noble profession. He also commended the efforts of journalists who were at the forefront in creating public awareness about the COVID-19 and conducting a sustained persuasive campaign for observing the relevant standard operating procedures and protective measures to guard against the pandemic.
Fawad extended the assurance that the government would continue to facilitate the growth of free and responsible media in Pakistan and strive to ensure the safety and security of the working journalists.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Monday paid tributes to the journalists, who had sacrificed their lives for truth.
The minister, in a tweet on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, said the government believed in freedom of expression, and that was why provision of facilities to the media was its first priority. The present government, he said, was also striving to improve the working conditions of media workers.