Saarc region: media can help promote peace, economic progress: Prime Minister
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Wednesday urged the media to play its due and pivotal role in removing misunderstandings and build an atmosphere of peace and friendship among the countries in the region. Addressing first ever South Asia Media Summit organised by All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) here Wednesday, the Prime Minister said the region direly needs peace and economic development and the media can play important role in this mission.
He said Pakistan attaches great importance to SAARC as it is an important forum to ensure peace, progress and development in the region. The Prime Minister said the unresolved political disputes are undermining the potential of the region to emerge as a robust economic grouping. He said heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of leadership of the region to show statesmanship and courage to resolve differences.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan has fervently supported the principles and objectives of SAARC charter. “We believe that SAARC has a great potential to become a model of regional co-operation,” he added. Raja Pervez Ashraf said Pakistan has played its role in this regard and is ready to go an extra-mile for greater development in the region.
Highlighting the importance of media, the Prime Minister said it has become a ‘soft power’ with the potential to embrace all aspects of the lives of nations. He said media always highlighted fundamental rights and human liberties and acts as a watch-dog against any excesses by the government. He said however it should remain within the bounds of moral and professional ethics, social values and adheres to the regulatory mechanism in place lest it encourages chaos in the society. The Prime Minister said media can enjoy its freedom only in a democratic dispensation and democracy can flourish in an environment where media is independent.
He said the PPP government has an abiding commitment to freedom of expression. He said media enjoys complete freedom and is contributing to the strengthening of democracy in the country. The Prime Minister said during the first tenure of the government of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the quota of printing paper was annulled and the media was given freedom. He said the present government soon after taking over, abolished the black laws and ensured media freedom.
He assured that the present democratic government will continue to protect media freedom and facilitate it in every possible manner. He also appreciated the role played by APNS in promoting people to people contact in the region through organising first ever South Asia Media Summit. President APNS Sarmad Ali, renowned Indian Media leader Subash Chandra also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the importance of free and responsible media. Media representatives from South Asian countries are participating in this two day South Asia Media Summit being organised by APNS.