SAFMA launches new initiatives for media, peace
ISLAMABAD: SAFMA launched new initiatives for media and peace with Norway’s support. The Free Media Foundation (FMF) signed a $ 1.4 million two-year contract with the Norwegian Embassy to support South Asian Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) programme “Media development, freedom and peace” in South Asia. Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira was the chief guest at the signing ceremony.
Ambassador of Norway Cecilie Landsverk and FMF Executive Director Imtiaz Alam signed the agreement in the presence of leading journalists from various media organisations.
Alam thanked Norway for its unconditional support for the programme, for the past ten years, and vowed to become self-reliant in the next few years. He highlighted SAFMA’s new initiatives for the development of media, defence of freedoms and democratic values, conflict resolution, peace and cooperation among the member countries of SAARC.
Alam revealed that SAFMA, South Asian Women in media (SAWM) and South Asian Media Commission (SAMC) would train young journalists, promote media ethics, defend press freedom and help build a consensus on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan and improve relations between India and Pakistan.
Landsverk lauded SAFMA’s efforts to promote media and peace in the region and assured her government’s backing for its endeavours. She said that Norway stood for the strengthening of democracy, democratic values, peace and cooperation in South Asia.
She appealed to other donors to support SAFMA, which was doing an exceptionally good job in bringing the media and people of South Asia together. Emphasising on freedom of expression, pluralism, right to know and strengthening of democracy, the ambassador assured that her country would continue to promote development in various crucial sectors of society in Pakistan.
Kaira assured SAFMA’s leadership to consider its draft information law, within a week, so that it could be presented before parliament. He also assured SAFMA that he would take up the issues of visa, SAARC Sticker for journalists and endowment fund for SAFMA from SAARC Development Fund, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Kaira appreciated the constructive role being played by SAFMA to promote media ethics, peace and cooperation. He called upon the media, political forces and civil society to defend democracy in the country, without which there could not be press freedom and independence of democracy.