Journalists moot from January 3
ISLAMABAD, Dec 10: A two-day summit of South Asian journalists on “Access to and free flow of information” will be held here on Januray 3 next year which will be addressed by the foreign ministers of Saarc states , including Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri and his Indian counterpart Yashwant Sinha.
Briefing media persons on the summit the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) secretary-general, Imtiaz Alam, said on Wednesday that more than 150 journalists from the Saarc states will be participating in the summit to bring attention to its proposed protocol on “Free movement of media person and media products across the frontiers of South Asian region”.
Demanding the inclusion of the liberalization of visa regime for the journalists and free trade of media products on the agenda of the forthcoming 12th Saarc summit, Mr Alam said a request had already been sent to all foreign and information ministers and secretaries of the region, besides Saarc secretary-general Qamar Ahmed Rahim.
Appreciating the support being provided by Mr Kasuri and Mr Sinha as well as Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokar and his Indian counterpart, the SAFMA secretary said they had promised to get the issue of liberalization of visa regime for journalists on the agenda of the Saarc summit.
A summery has already been sent by the Pakistan foreign office to the Saarc secretariat not only on the issue of visa liberalization, but also recognizing SAFMA as an apex body of Saarc.
He said the summit will also focus on the state of press laws, access to information and press freedom in the region. Legal experts on press laws and press freedom in the region will read papers. The summit will also issue its proposed protocol and a draft model law on access to information for the Saarc countries.
President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee have also been requested to interact with the delegates to the summit. SAFMA delegation will also call upon all heads of delegations to the Saatc summit while a conference is being organized by Safma.
On January 2 second Safma national conference will be held to focus on “right to know and right to express” besides the seven ordinances. More than 130 senior journalists will participate in it, Mr Alam said.