Gilani urges media not to highlight activities of extremists
* PM says rising extremism is biggest challenge
* Media should put in place effective mechanism for self-accountability
ISLAMABAD: Agreeing in principle to the demand for upward revision in the tariff (rates) of government advertisements in newspapers and announcing a Rs 50 million grant for the construction of the office building of the All-Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) in Karachi, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday said it was the collective obligation of the media to make efforts against extremism and not highlight the ideology and activities of extremists.
“To confront these challenges, our deep commitment and attention will prove helpful in enhancing the dignity of Pakistan in the international community,” he said, adding that extremism was the biggest challenge facing the country.
Speaking during a meeting with a delegation of the APNS Executive Committee at the PM’s House, Gilani urged senior and experienced members of the journalist community to help prepare an acceptable code of conduct, which not only protected rights of a free media but safeguards all sections of society.
“Both print and electronic media are expected that they will put in place an effective mechanism of self accountability for promotion of peace and integrity in society,” he said.
He also announced the provision of a plot for an APNS office in Islamabad, as well as resolving the issues pertaining to the outstanding dues and liabilities of government advertisement, with particular reference to the payments of departments and ministries devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment.
The PM, responding to the proposals presented by APNS President Hameed Haroon for further strengthening the newspaper industry in the country, agreed in principle to the revision in rates of public sector advertisements from July 1. The revised rates would be worked out by the Information Ministry in consultation with the APNS, he said, adding that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) would allot a plot for the APNS at Zero Point, Islamabad. He also announced a Rs 50 million grant to be disbursed in two installments of Rs 25 million each, for the construction of an APNS office building in Karachi.
The PM said he would visit Karachi to lay the foundation stone of the APNS building.
With regard to the dues and liabilities of the government advertisements pertaining to the ministries and divisions devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment, the PM announced that the federal government would pay and clear such dues.
Reiterating that the government believes in the freedom of the press, he also agreed to the proposal that outstanding payments of government advertisement of Rs 450 million would be cleared through the support of the APNS to ensure transparency.
About the formation of a press council which would facilitate the implementation of the code of conduct for the print media, the PM said it would be announced within a month.
Regarding the Freedom of Information Act, the PM said it would be finalised after reaching a consensus among the political forces in parliament.
To a question about the agenda proposed by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif at a press conference last week, Gilani emphasised the government’s resolve to address the challenges faced by the country, including poverty, energy crisis, terrorism and extremism by following the policy of reconciliation and taking all political forces on board.
Gilani said that before talking to Nawaz and giving a positive response to his agenda points, he talked to leaders of all political parties and they were unanimous in addressing the challenges faced by the country.
To another question, the PM said that listening to the voices of the people and their representation in parliament was the strength of democracy.
Source: Daily Times