PM for media’s self-regulation


APNS posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for Zahid Malik

Sophia Siddiqui


Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday said the PML-N government was proud of not using censorship or the secret fund to control news content as it fully believes in the freedom of media.
Addressing the 28th Award ceremony of the All Pakistan Newspapers Association (APNS) here, the Prime Minister also asked the media to have a self-regulatory mechanism to ensure greater objectivity and impartiality in their news content.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the occasion distributed awards in various categories. Posthumous lifetime achievement award was given to founder of Pakistan Observer Late Zahid Malik. The award was received by his son Faisal Malik, Editor-in-Chief, Pakistan Observer.
Prime Minister Abbasi said in a modern world there was no scope of any censorship. He said the measure may bring temporary benefits, but such measures were never in the interest of a country in the long run.
“We are proud to state that we never resorted to any such acts, despite the serious challenges that we confronted,” he said and added that a free and fair media was vital for any democracy. The Prime Minister said his government was also proud of the fact that it did not use the “secret funds” of the Intelligence Bureau for media manipulation as it believes that the right to free expression needs to be fulfilled.
He said in the past billions of rupees were doled out from the secret fund, however the PML-N government from day one remained committed that it would not use any coercion against the media and there would be no interference, whatsoever.
“Our government always tried to maintain the freedom of expression at all costs,” he said and added at the same time it was government’s desire that there were more objective and positive reporting about Pakistan. He said successful completion of the development projects needs to be highlighted so as to have a feel good factor for the masses.
He said his government successfully managed to maintain objectivity in news and did not link it up to the government advertisements.
Prime Minister Abbasi said like the reforms in all sectors, there was also a need for reform in the news industry. Her called for adopting a self-regulatory mechanism, particularly when there was no history of claiming any damages due to the defamation caused.
He said there was a need for putting in place a system which equally accommodates contradictions of baseless news and allegations leveled against anyone.
Abbasi said the Pakistan of 2018 was different from the one his government inherited in 2013 and said the country has achieved significant success in all areas. He said due acknowledgment of the accomplishments of the government, particularly in boosting the country’s GDP, enhancing investment climate, electricity and gas production, besides tackling terrorism, need to be given.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb expressed the confidence that the media will play its due role in the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in the country. She said democracy and journalism have a deep link.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said the PML (N) government carried out such historic work in its five year tenure which was not done in the last sixty six years.
She said the journalists and columnists should also use their pen to highlight this performance. She was confident that the PML (N) will form the next government if the people cast their vote on the basis of performance.
She described the passage of Right to Information Act a big achievement of present government.
She said under this act, Information Commission will also be formed today (Wednesday). She said the act will facilitate the media persons to access any kind of information.
Marriyum Aurangzeb also emphasized the need for review of other media related laws so that the journalists can discharge their duties without any hurdle.
In his remarks Hamid Haroon, President APNS appreciated the Prime Minister for putting the country back on rails at a time when it was facing numerous challenges on various fronts. He was appreciative of the government for its support to the freedom of expression as enshrined under the Constitution of the country.

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