Govt believes in press freedom, says Durrani
Talks to be held with APNS over Press laws
KARACHI, July 01 2006: Federal Information Minister, Muhammad Ali Durrani, has said that govt ensures freedom of the Press and expression in the county and intends to make Pakistan a free media hub in the Muslim world. He was speaking at the Executive Committee of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society( APNS) at a lunch hosted in the honour of the Minister for Information, Tariq Azeem, Minister of State for Information, Shahid Rafi, Secretary Information and Ashfaq Gonda, Principal Information Officer.
Durrani assured the Executive Committee that all the pending issues of the government Press relations including the incomplete agenda of Press laws will be resolved with the APNS office-bearers through a dialogue being initiated shortly. He emphasized that the govt wanted the development and projection of a free Press in the country and would like that the institutions for training and development of human resources for the newspaper industry and journalism are established.
In this respect, he requested the APNS to come forward and assured that the govt would facilitate such efforts wholeheartedly. The Information Minister also appreciated the proposal made by the members of the Executive Committee for judicious and equitable distribution of government advertisements to the smaller and medium newspapers. He suggested the APNS to send a summary containing its proposal for the Central Media List to be based on APNS member publications and assured that the proposals will be considered sympathetically.
Earlier, the Acting President, APNS, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami while welcoming the Information Minister thanked him for his cooperation in the withdrawal of Customs duty on import of newsprint and reduction of withholding tax. He said that APNS has also suggested withdrawal of GST on import of newsprint as it is major cost burden on newspaper industry. He hoped that the govt would seriously consider this demand and exempt the newspaper industry from the GST.
The Executive Committee of the APNS strongly condemned the violence against journalists and media establishments. The Executive Committee in a resolution noted that such incidents were now occurring frequently which should be checked by the law enforcing agencies. The Executive Committee also condemned the incident of Press Club, Peshawar and urged upon the provincial government to take immediate measures to get hold of the culprits. The Executive Committee in another resolution, condemned the stoppage of government advertisements to some publications in Balochistan by the Provincial Information Minister.
It took strong note of threats by Opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly against newspapers in Balochistan. The meeting was addressed by Tariq Azeem, Minister of State for Information, Hameed Haroon, Arif Nizami, Kazi Asad Abid, Inquilab Matri, Syed Fasieh Iqbal, Muhammad Aslam Kazi, Dr Jabbar Khattak, Waseem Ahmed, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Mumtaz Tahir, Jamil Ather, Sharif Farooq, S.M. Munir Jillani, Javed Mehr Shamsi, Imtenan Shahid and Pir Sufaid Shah Hamdard.
Source: The Nation