CPNE seminar seeks media role in creating harmony among institutions
Independent media is vital to strengthen democracy while it should also play its role in creating harmony among institutions instead of fanning differences in state organs. Speakers expressed these views while addressing a seminar titled “Challenges faced by the country and role of media,” here on Wednesday organised by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE).
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that media and democracy have always been hand in glove with each other. The media has always played an important role in struggle against the dictatorships, she said, adding the journalists’ biggest issue that she has come across is their security and safety.
The government is going to table a ‘Journalists Safety and Security Bill’ in the Parliament soon, she said, adding the media organizations should also focus on training of their staff especially journalists. The minister urged the media houses to highlight positive things as well along with criticizing the politicians.
Speaking on the occasion, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman said journalists should investigate the issues first and check the information from multiple sources before publishing the news stories. He said Iran, India and Afghanistan – all neighbouring countries of Pakistan – have been lobbying against Pakistan while “we are also losing trust of China due to political instability in our country.”
Rehman said all institutions should play their role while remaining in their constitutional limits, adding the democracy in the country is facing challenges these days and this requires a national unity to steer the country out of all challenges. Referring to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said the organisation was running a smear campaign against the politicians and all cases disappear once people sitting in the government leave their positions.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s Senator Sherry Rehman said the country is facing internal and external challenges while confrontation among the institutions is also evident to all. Nobody can be above the law, she said, adding the democracy does not mean just contest elections but to serve the downtrodden and poor of the country.
Rehman said the government can fight the artificial crisis by improving its governance, adding the government should also take measures to overcome the looming economic crisis. Jamat-e-Islami chief Senator Siraj-ul-Haq said the real democracy is to resolve the problems of the common people instead of making it a slave to the elites.
Common man pays taxes but gets nothing in return, he said, adding the Constitution is a sacred document and this can only guarantee sovereignty of the country. Awami National Party leader Afrasiab Khattak said the media needs to focus on backward areas too as issues of common people living in those areas are not highlighted as needed.
Talking about suspended SSP Rao Anwar, he said the government will have to answer as to why it has failed to arrest the fugitive police officer who is involved in killing of tribal youth Naqeebullah Mehsud. Khattak also urged the government to listen to the FATA youth who have been protesting against atrocities of the state against them.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator Shibli Faraz said the role of media is very important in the current situation and it should play its role in protecting benefit of the country. He urged the journalist to highlight issues of national importance instead of getting into petty issues related to politics. Defence analyst Ikram Sehgal lauded Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto for effectively highlighting the country’s role in different international affairs at Davos.
He said all countries in the world have been passing through different nature of crises; so it should not discourage us. Sehgal also lauded the government for its role in reclaiming peace in Karachi and the FATA. Speaking on the occasion, CPNE President Zia Shahid said the democracy needs to address issues of the common man instead of making the Parliament just a debating club.
He said the newspapers and freedom of expression were promoted during former Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo’s time while television channels were allowed to be aired during General Musharraf’s time.