PTI Govt fully believes in freedom of expression, media independence: Firdous

ISLAMABAD, Dec 5 (APP):Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr
Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday reaffirmed the commitment that present democratic government of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, fully believed in the freedom of expression and independence of media as enshrined in the Constitution.

Speaking at the meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, she said that there were some specific responsibilities on all citizens, along with the right of freedom of expression.

The SAPM said that media had the right to criticize the government policies but it should act more responsibly when interest of the state was involved. She said there was need of self-regulation in the media where state interests were involved. She said that it was responsibility of all stakeholders to play their role in promotion of national narrative.

She acknowledged that the media promoted national narrative on the issue of Kashmir and Namoos-e-Risalat. She said that there was also a need to counter fake news, disinformation and planted news
as that cause instability.

She said when she came to know about the protest outside a media house the other day, she called the local administration for ensuring protection of the staff of the media organization. She said that general
public has the right to protest but their way of protest was not appropriate and the government would never encourage such type of protests. Dr Firdous asked the committee to form a sub-committee to sort out the matter of lay-offs and delay in payment of salaries to the media employees.

She said that the proposed sub-committee should hold meetings with all stakeholders and formulate a strategy to protect the rights of working journalists. Chairman of the committee Javed Latif said that such attitude with the media was not suitable and appropriate.

The committee was given a presentation on the reforms agenda of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. The committee was informed that Rs 4 billion for digitalization of Radio Pakistan were needed. The committee chairman constituted a sub-committee headed by Usman Tarakai with Naz Baloch and Maiza Hameed as its members.

The Chairman of the committee said that there was a need to initiate immediate reforms in Radio Pakistan to regain the confidence of the listeners. The meeting was attended by MNAs Syed Amin Ul Haque, Aftab Jehangir, Naz Baloch, Syma Nadeem and Nafeesa Shah and Engineer Usman Khan Tarakai.

Besides Principal Information Officer Tahir Khusnood and senior officials from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Managing Director PTV Aamer Manzoor, DG Radio Pakistan Samina Waqar
MD Associated Press of Pakistan Tariq Mehmood and Executive Director Ghawas Khan were also present in the meeting.

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