Ensure economic security of journalists

LIKE elsewhere in the world, Press Freedom Day was observed across the country on Wednesday with repetition of same commitments that are made every year for the freedom of expression and welfare and protection of journalist community.
One does not need any careful analysis to understand the plight and problems of the media persons that are reckoned as fourth pillar of the state. Over the last one and a half decades, our media industry has registered a mind-boggling growth. Indeed the emergence of innumerable electronic media outlets has also provided hundreds of thousands of job opportunities but we understand that problems faced by the media workers are the same as they were from day one. If we summarise, they are faced with two threats. One is physical that is related to their life and the second is their job security. While going beyond rhetoric, the present government has done some good job by initiating work on the journalist protection bill but it is any body’s guess as to when it will be passed and put in implementation phase. As many as 105 journalists have lost their lives in the line of duty during the last six years and nobody knows as to what kind of conditions the families of these slain journalists are living these days as currently there is no system in place for their compensation as well as job security of journalists. Situation warrants intervention not only from the government side but also the press clubs that they take a firm stand for overall well-being of journalists who despite all odds and difficulties try to provide people unhindered access to information. We understand that protection of journalist bill is a first step in the right direction and expect that Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb will spare no effort in early passage and implementation of the act after accommodating genuine inputs from relevant stakeholders that addresses all concerns of the journalists.

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