Government committed to provide access to information, says Jabbar
ISLAMABAD- The consultative and coordination conference of information minister reaffirmed government’s commitment to facilitate free flow of information, strengthen freedom of the press and increase autonomy of the electronic media.
“The conference reaffirmed the commitment of the government to strengthen the relationship between good governance, accountability, access to information, a free and independent press and increase in the autonomy and professional standards of PTV and the PBC,” stated Information Minister Javed Jabbar, who chaired the conference. Punjab Information Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Secretary Information, Salim Gul Shaikh, Director General, Inter Services Public Relations, Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi, MD, PTV, Yousuf Beg Mirza, senior officials of the Ministry of Information and representatives from the ministries of information of NWFP Sindh and Balochistan attended the meeting.
The conference took stock of the events and the information sector during the past few months and since the last meeting held on Feb 8. The conference identified the developmental, political and economic issues that had been the subject of work and discussion during the past five months.
The conference identified areas in which the flow of information to the people about government’s work needs to be improved, refined and extended in order to reflect both the substance of the work being done by the four provincial governments and the federal government as well as to reflect the range of the public opinion.
While expressing satisfaction on some improved aspects of coordination between federal and provincial governments, the conference identified specific areas where improvement is required and practical measures for implementation were agreed upon.
The conference identified four major themes that are relevant for the nation in the coming five months including devolution of power, water issues, which needs broad education and dissemination, importance of information technology and emphasis on promotion of export culture.
Punjab Information Minister Shafqat Mchmood briefed the conference about the number of steps taken since the previous conference. Director General, ISPR, Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi also briefed the conference about aspects of how coordinated action has proceeded, and the recommendations for future programmes.
The meeting welcomed the prospects of a new regulatory authority, expected to be approved in the coming months, for allowing private radio and TV channels in the country.
In view of the Independence Day on August 14, the meeting recognised the unique importance of the day. The conference agreed that the expected announcement by the Chief Executive on August 14 of the formal features of devolution of power process assumes a direct relevance with the independence day. It will mark the first step towards the authentic empowerment of people and establishment of participatory and enduring democracy, the conference agreed.
Javed Jabbar briefed the conference about the progress towards the formation of a Press Council. He said a meeting of the recently-constituted Wage Board will be held shortly. Jabbar asked the provincial information departments to speed up the process of computerisation for fast-paced communication. He underlined the need for regular holding of meetings of provincial media coordination committees, under the provincial information ministers. for improved coordination.
Source: The News