NA body recommends journalists’ Welfare Fund
ISLAMABAD – The standing committee of National Assembly (NA) on Information and Broadcasting on Friday recommended the establishment of Welfare Fund for journalists especially those working in the conflict zones.
The committee met under the chairpersonship of MNA Belum Hussnain at building of Press Information Department, Islamabad, for briefing on working and performance of the PID.
Appreciating the PID effort for pursuing pro-journalists policies, the committee asked to establish a revolving fund under the Press Information Department (PID) for the welfare of the journalists especially those working in the conflict zones.
The committee has asked the Information Ministry to strengthen the Press Information Department to counter the negative perception about Pakistan.
The committee also asked the Ministry to provide financial assistance for the establishment of press clubs at tehsil level. The committee recommended that all the vacant posts in PID might also be filled besides enhancing the pay structure of the officers so that they could perform well.
Syed Sumsam Ali Bokhari, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting agreed with the committee and assured his ministry’s all-out support for fulfilling the requirements of the department to enhance its efficacy.
He said that media supplement the government by objectively criticising on it, which improved governance. He said that government had reserved quotas for media men in government-sponsored housing schemes and would also support the establishment of fund for journalists and press clubs in remote areas of the country.
The standing committee also asked for provision of required manpower and resources to PID so that it could perform up to the mark.
The committee appreciated the performance of PID and opined that PID, being the principal projection arm of the government, was doing tremendous job despite financial and human resource constraints.
Earlier, the Principal Information Officer of the PID briefed the committee about the organisational structure of the department and scope of its activities.
He told the committee that being the principal publicity arm of the government, it provides public relations services to all the ministries of the federal government, conducts foreign media during visits of VVIPs to Pakistan, acts as focal point for release of government advertisements to newspapers. It also extends financial assistance to ailing journalists and their families, press clubs all over the country and facilitating electronic and print media during sessions of the parliament.
He further informed the committee that PID had maintained record of newspapers since 1947, which was a unique attraction for researchers, historians, scholars, writers and students. He said that however, despite paucity of funds and manpower, it was trying to come up to the expectations of the government.
The members of the committee said that newspapers record with PID was a unique treasure, which should be preserved by using latest techniques so that the future generations could benefit from it. They also recommended for publicizing about it as majority of the people were not aware of that unique treasure.
The meeting was attended by Syed Sumsam Ali Bokhari, Minister of State for I&B, MNAs Syed Amir Ali Shah, Mir Amir Ali Khan Magsi, Mrs Samina Mushtaq Pugganwala, Begum Nuzhat Sadiq, Mrs. Shireen Arshad Khan, Rana Nazir Ahmad Khan, Mrs. Bushra Rehman,and others.
Source: The Nation