Free media, democracy inter-linked: Durrani
LAHORE, May 04 2006: Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani said on May 03 that free media was the cornerstone of democracy and present government fully adhered to this perception. He was speaking at a forum on ‘Freedom of Press: National and Global Perspective’ arranged by the Press Institute of Pakistan (PIP) in collaboration with the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) here.
PIP Chairman Majid Nizami, CPNE President Arif Nizami, APNS Vice-President Mujeeb Ur Rehman Shami, Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari, Human Rights Society of Pakistan Chairman Senator S.M.Zafar and PIP Director Absar Abdul Ali were among the speakers. The minister said democracy and free media were inter-linked and the two elements could not survive without each other.
He said that the freedom, which media was currently enjoying in Pakistan, was mainly due to the sacrifices rendered by media people and their struggle for the noble cause.
“The media criticism is a blessing and every sensible government fully takes advantage of the criticism for improving its performance,” he said. He emphasised the need for making efforts at all levels to strengthen institutions, end corruption and change feudal mindset.
Mr Durrani said the present government had given complete freedom to the press and was working to strengthen institutions and change feudal mindsets. He praised the press clubs all over the country for holding their elections regularly and said that all political parties should also follow the precedent. “Unfortunately some political parties despite claiming to be champions of democracy do not hold party elections regularly,” he said and urged the media to highlight this issue for the good of democracy in the country.
The minister was of the view that the political parties must work to establish strong democratic traditions in their own ranks instead of watching the interests of few families having control on the parties. “Such people do not believe in accepting the opinion of others but keep on talking for democracy all the time,” he observed. Mr Durrani said that he had full confidence that democracy would flourish in Pakistan and there would be no roll-back in shape of martial law or any other such form.
He said that the sole object of his joining the politics was to improve economic conditions for the common man. He said it had been proposed to give maximum openness to the Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan and other media institutions working in the public sector. The minister said the PTV had already been instructed to facilitate private media by providing them with news reels of official events where private channels were not invited.
He said that a competitive environment should be created to ensure fast track development in the country in all sectors. The minister said that people wanted to see continuity of policies of the present government. He said that every one among us must contribute to protect the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Earlier, Majeed Nizami, Arif Nizami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman Shami, Senator S.M.Zafar and Arshad Ansari spoke on various aspects of the press freedom and its importance in the consolidation of democracy and institutions. The problems being faced by the media in the discharge of its responsibilities were also highlighted by the speakers.