Govt believes in freedom of press
PESHAWAR – NWFP Governor Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah has said the government believes in freedom of press and it has practically proved this during last five years.
However, he said, the newspapers must also uphold the national interest while reporting on sensitive issues.
Talking to a joint delegation of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation which called on him at the Governor House here on August 29, the governor said: “We have also taken care of this matter at provincial level and always upheld the freedom of the press.”
“In fact,” he remarked, “we have not only maintained close contacts with the press but also tried to resolve their problems.”
Talking on a point regarding the implementation of the Wage Board Award for newspaper employees, the governor said its linkage with advertisements was the best solution and the federal cabinet had already taken a decision in that respect.
Referring to the Wana situation, the governor said there was no restriction on visits of journalists to the area. However, he stressed that while reporting on that issue “we must keep the national interest uppermost.”
He also mentioned examples of a number of foreign media organs which, he said, had been giving first preference to their national cause.
“But unfortunately,” said the governor, “in our case the situation is quite different and here some people fully ignore the national interest while discussing issues relating to the country’s security.”
He said that one must not depend on hearsay and all reports (on sensitive issues) must be confirmed from a government spokesman. This, he said, would also prove helpful in building the image of the newspaper concerned.
The governor said that the government had already arranged visits of journalist groups to the tribal area on different occasions, because “we desire to keep people informed.”
Talking about initiatives to promote journalism in Fata, the governor said the government had planned to establish press clubs in each agency and work on two such projects had already been completed. Similar schemes were under implementation in the remaining agencies, he said.
Earlier, Ahfaz-ur-Rehman, the PFUJ president, highlighted the activities as well as aims and objectives of PFUJ and APNEC.
He stressed the importance of getting the Wage Board Award implemented and upholding the freedom of press.
The Khyber Union of Journalists president Sajjad Haider also spoke.