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Minister speaks on Freedom of Media in Pakistan at Rochester Chambers, Birmingham

Islamabad, January 31, 2013 (PPI-OT): Syed Sumsam Ali Shah Bukhari, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting has said that Pakistan is confronted with the challenge of perception despite its contribution to eradicate extremism and militancy.

The people of Pakistan he added are fighting the war against terrorism with sincerity and resent negative portrayal of their society by a section of international media. Pakistan he mentioned needs support and acknowledgment for its sacrifices and resilience.

The Minister was addressing a gathering of prominent lawyers and intellectuals at the Rowchester Chambers in Birmingham. The subject of Minister’s talk was “Freedom of Press and Media in Pakistan”.

The Minister said that he was proud to share with the audience that like any free and developed country in the world, people of a democratic Pakistan enjoy complete freedom of expression that is respectful to the diverse cultures and communities that make up the social fabric of Pakistan.

The Democratic Government of Pakistan firmly believes that freedom of expression, information and access to information were necessary and inevitable for the promotion of democratic culture in the country, he added. However, the Minister said that while the law should allow genuine freedom of expression for the collective social good, it should not be made absolute so as to enable anarchists and hate groups to attack others’ personal beliefs and identities, and it was also important to respect the ethics and principles of objectivity and accuracy for which journalism is respected worldwide.

Mr Bukhari said that Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a staunch believer in the freedom of the press ensured its freedom by enshrining the same in Article 19 of the unanimously accepted 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.

He Minister urged that in the current regional situation as well as socio-economic and political environment of Pakistan, the national media must play its role to dispel social panic and despair; to create a national resolve against militancy and to create a spirit of tolerance, pluralism, mutual respect and unity of purpose in society. Mr Bukhari lamented that international media only seems interested in reporting violence and accords minimal coverage to positive aspects of Pakistani society.

Highlighting the steps taken for the welfare of the journalist community, Mr Bukhari said that the present Government was committed to providing security, insurance and risk coverage for media houses.

The Government he added had done a lot to ensure better healthcare facilities to working journalists and their families. Similarly, media colonies had been approved in all the districts of Pakistan, he informed. He further said that the government was fully aware of the problems of media workers and wanted to help resolve their problems with the cooperation of media houses. The Minister also replied questions from the audience on various important issues.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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