Islamabad: 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 Government under the leadership of PM Imran Khan regards the freedom of press as a fundamental, democratic and constitutional right which needs to be protected for the development of an independent and responsible media geared to playing a constructive role in nation-building as the fourth pillar of the state.
Let me make it clear there is no concept of media censorship in the country, whatsoever. Media in Pakistan enjoys unprecedented freedom to report, be it politics, economy or any other area. The Government neither believes nor practices any press advice. Rather it encourages self-regulation by media.
The Federal Government is taking all possible measures to create a congenial environment for the Journalists to perform their professional obligations. 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.Ministry of information fully supports the idea of Journalists protection Act and striving to get it through, likewise we are keen to equip Pakistan media with modern technologies and improve HR.
The working Journalists under a certain criteria would a be accommodated in the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme. The Government is also contemplating to award health cards to enable them avail healthcare facilities for themselves and their families.
Availing this opportunity I would like to pay tributes to the martyrs of Journalism who lost their lives in pursuit of truth and upholding honour and sanctity of the noble profession. I also commend efforts of the Journalists who are at the forefront in creating public awareness about the covid-19 and conducting a sustained persuasive campaign for observing the relevant SOPs and protective measures to guard against the pandemic.
While concluding I would like to extend the assurance that the Government would continue to facilitate the growth of free and responsible media in Pakistan and to ensure the safety and security of the working journalists.