Islamabad: The Present Democratic Government strongly believes in freedom of expression and media but the freedom must be coupled with responsibility and in conformity to societal norms. Information Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said this in her statement today in Islamabad.
She said that the government does not in any way intend to put a curb on the electronic media as democracy and media independence goes hand in hand. We want to empower media to strengthen democracy, but media without law and democracy without media freedom cannot flourish, The Minister added.
Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the present democratic Govt has given unprecedented freedom to media and it goes to its credit that it lifted sanctions on media imposed by previous dictatorial regime. She said that PEMRA has always framed laws for facilitation of media and not to put curb on their freedom. She said that Govt. is in constant liaison with the concerned stakeholders before making or formulating any policy, law or regulations.
Information Minister has brushed aside the news item attributed to the present Govt. by section of a press today which has created a perception that the government is framing such regulation aimed at curtailing media freedom. There is not a single clause in proposed Content Regulations that may be presumed anti-media.
All the media rules and regulations either framed or amended have been in consultation with the stakeholders, so how can this Govt. contemplate to curb or muzzle the media which is its own creation and for which PEMRA has been given the mandated to flourish, The Minister said.
Information Minister said that Govt. witnesses hue and cry from civil society and stakeholders on daily basis whereby PEMRA is criticized for not discharging its functions adequately. On the contrary, whenever it takes initiative in interest of public, country or media itself, there starts accusations against Govt. and PEMRA of “media curbs”. She said that it is unfortunate that each and every step of Govt. is perceived negative and propagated as arbitrary sanctions on media.
This is never appreciated that present democratic govt. has been the biggest proponent of “self regulation” and the massive spurt of electronic media that country has witnessed today is result of Govt’s. media friendly policies.
She said that One cannot criticize GOVT. and PEMRA for performing their functions which is to offer larger framework of policy and regulations to its licensees, because it’s about a decade that PEMRA has been in existence and has been framing policies, rules and regulations for private electronic media which is its prime obligation. Nevertheless, the policies are adopted and implemented by the licensees at their own and PEMRA or Govt. has never intervened to freedom of media, The Minister said.
Information Minister said that there is no harm if the request is made to media to insure balanced, objective and unbiased converge and to preserve the sanctity of religions, any sect, ethical values, morality and decency.
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