Govt believes in freedom of expression, legislation being done for media safety

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad—Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday said the government believed in freedom of expression and it was taking practical steps for the safety and security of journalists and necessary legislation was being made for the purpose. Speaking in “Meet the Press” programme here at the National Press Club, the minister said in the past no attention was given to the capacity building of media professionals and her ministry would make arrangements for their professional training.
She said on the prime minister’s directives, a draft bill for the security and safety of the journalists had been prepared and its copies would be soon sent to all the stakeholders, including press clubs and media organizations.
Amendments proposed by the media persons, she said, would be incorporated in the bill to make it a comprehensive law. Setting up of Journalists Endowment Fund would be part of the bill, she added.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said today media played a very important role in the formation of national narrative. To a question, she said electronic media outlets should activate their internal editorial committees so that self-accountability system could become operative.
About the Right to Information Bill, she said it would be presented in the National Assembly soon. The minister said the chairman of Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees would be appointed shortly.
Pakistan, she said, was passing through a critical juncture and due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and its road network, its regional importance had increased. “We as Pakistanis should keep the national interests supreme,” she added. Some unverified and concocted news, she said, defamed the country in the world. Earlier former President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Afzal Butt and National Press Club Presiden Shakeel Anjum, in their addresses, highlighted the problems and issues being faced by the media persons.