Journalist victim fund to be made effective: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday urged the media to ensure objectivity and sanctity of the word and said the government considered media as it’s ‘sympathizer’ and welcomed constructive criticism as it sees it as a source of guidance.
“Criticism for the sake of criticism can never yield results,” he said and mentioned that he had been a student of journalism and knew that neutrality should be the hallmark of journalism.
Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of National Press Club’s office bearers here at the PM Secretariat, the Prime Minister said media is not only the fourth pillar of the state but also keeps a vigil on the working of other three pillars i.e, judiciary, legislative and executive.
Gilani said media also plays a vital role in serving as a bridge amongst the three pillars of the state, and added that the government was aware of the problems of journalists and was giving due attention to resolve them.
He said a responsible press plays a significant role in bringing positivity to a society and gives strength to the democracy.
The Prime Minister who announced a number of benefits for the working journalists including doubling of funds allocated for journalists colonies, recalled the services of veteran journalists who played their part in the creation of Pakistan and it’s development.
Gilani said the government was fulfilling its obligations towards the rights of press, adding there was no curb or restriction on media in the country and the journalists were performing professional duties with complete freedom and peace of mind.
He said he was also proud to state that there was not even a single political worker imprisoned at the moment. He said Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto always believed that a free and independent media was essential for a budding and lasting democracy.
The Prime Minister felicitated the new office bearers of the National Press Club and mentioned that safe and free election reflected of a flourishing democratic system and a step forward towards building a stronger nation and mature society.
He assured the journalists that the government would provide them insurance and health facilities, besides resolving their residential problems. He also extended the government’s assistance to the working journalists towards their professional training, research and capacity building. The prime minister said the Journalist Victim Fund would be made effective soon.
Gilani directed ministry of Labour to include journalists in the Employees Old Age Benefit fund and announced Rs 10 million as initial grant for the Press Club, while promised more in the next financial year.
He said the amount for housing societies for journalists had been doubled, raising from Rs 70 million to 140 million. He asked the Capital Development Authority to build the wall around National Press Club as soon as possible.
For construction of houses, Gilani asked the Minister for housing and House Building Finance Corporation for arranging soft loans for journalists.
On the issue of Wage Board, he said since the matter was subjudice, the government would look at it after the decision.
Source: The News