Govt ready to revert to previous defamation law
LAHORE – Prime Minster Ch Shujat Hussain has clarified that the defamation law was partially amended, increasing only the period of imprisonment. He was talking to reporters after inaugurating a private TV channel Business Plus in Lahore on August 3.
The prime minister said if the journalists feel threatened, the government is ready to revert to the previous defamation law. He said most of the criticism on the law reveals that the people have not read it carefully.
Ch Shujat said the defamation law was meant to root out the mud slinging culture. He said this law would not affect journalists. He assured of his total commitment to a free press including the electronic and print media. He said the present government showed its sincerity in this regard by allowing independent channels to operate freely in the country. He appealed to the new electronic channels to improve the image of the country.
He said the media is free, however, the government would not tolerate anything aired against the interest of the country or against our Islamic and moral values. He assured the journalist that the Wage Board Award issue would be resolved before he leaves the office.
Federal Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that Pakistan is the only country after India that has allowed 22 cross-media channels to operate. He said the government is planning to establish a Media City in Islamabad. He said the final shape to this idea would be given after holding consultations with the IT Department and Ministry of Commerce. He hoped that the Media City would attract many foreign operators who could transmit their programs by using this facility.
He said three parties have been short-listed for a DTH facility comprising of 50-300 channels. He said 7 channels are already operating in the country while permission for 22 cross-media channels has been recently approved. He hoped that private channels would project the image of Pakistan across the globe. He said government has also granted permission to 24 MMDS in 21 cities. This, he added, would further open-up the electronic media. He said the people are cleverer and well informed than the government or politicians in the Global World. They have the facility to verify any news item from different sources, he added. He said PTV with is 5-channels is ready to compete the onslaught of private electronic channels.
Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool said Pakistan has to play a proactive role and the country has placed itself comfortably in a position where it cannot be bypassed on issues relating to this region.
He said Pakistan is now very much a part of the globalised media and globalised economy. He said the media is fully independent and its economy is now deep-rooted. He said Pakistanis are God fearing and tolerant people. He appealed to the national media to instill confidence in the people through their positive news items. He said negative crime reports have a demoralising affect on the nation.
Source: The Nation