PM announces Rs200m for journalists’ fund
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said the PPP government believed in the freedom of the press and had abolished all black laws that put curbs on the media.
Addressing the oath taking ceremony of the National Press Club at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the PM said, “Democracy and a free press cannot be separated from each other. Journalists have offered great sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the country.”
The prime minister claimed there wasn’t a single political prisoner in the country. “Similarly, no journalist has been detained on the basis of his or her criticism of government policies,” he added. He said the process of obtaining the declaration of a newspaper had been made simple and easy.
The prime minister said the government had taken a number of steps for the welfare of journalists. He announced one million rupees for the treatment of an ailing journalist, Naeemullah, and Rs five lakh for cameraman Israr Ahmad who lost his legs while performing his duties.
He assured the implementation of the 7th Wage Board Award and said the government wanted to develop the media so that people could have an access to correct information as well as entertainment.
The prime minister said work was in full swing to establish the Benazir Bhutto Media University in Islamabad. He said Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed had taken practical steps for the freedom of the press.
The prime minister announced Rs200 million for journalist’s Endowment Fund and Rs10 million for the National Press Club. He said the government would bear all expenses of the construction of a new building for the National Press Club.
Speaking on the occasion, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the PPP leadership and workers had rendered numerous sacrifices for the establishment of true democracy and a free media in the country. She said a system would be introduced to ensure the development of the media as envisioned by the PPP’s martyred leadership.
Dr Firdous said the Social Media Cell would start working by Eid to help the working journalists in the area of social media sciences. The information minister announced that all demands raised by the President of the National Press Club would be addressed through coordination and on priority basis.
Earlier, the President of the National Press Club, Afzal Butt, thanked the government for its various schemes providing incentives to working journalists. The prime minister administered the oath to the new office bearers of the National Press Club.
Source: The News