Govt. wants self-regulatory press council: Anwar
RAWALPINDI:Federal Information Secretary Syed Anwar Mehmood on Friday said the govÂemment wants Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) to act as a self-regÂulatory and financially independent body.
Addressing delegates of second South Asian Free Media Association (Safiua) national conÂference here, he said there was a great demand,for the press laws, ‘which were promulgated by the govermnent.Earlier, there were no laws on defamation, freedom of infonnaÂtibn, press council and press and publication, he added.
He said laws on electronic media would facilitate both the public and private sectors. He said there was a consistent demand for a self-regulatory press council. The press council was formed after long onsultations among the APNS, the CPNE and the ministry of information, he added. The secretary said there is always room for improvement and changes in laws.
He said the government has taken first step by bringing in press laws.. In the presence of a functioning democracy, these laws would be brought to the parliament and amendments would be incorporatÂed, he added.
He said key to press freedom is financial independence. Referring to grants for the press council from the goveniment and abroad, he said, no organisation could function independently by getting financial assistance from others. He said only the chairman of the press council would be appointed by the government while other members of the body are from edit’ tors, representative bodies, working journalists and professionals.
The secretary said Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) is a premier news agency which should function as a commercially viable organization. Presently, the government gives an annual budget of Rs 100 to 120 million to the APP, while it only, generates Rs 10 million from subscribers, he added.
Anwar Mehmood said any government would like to make use of the services of those organizations to which it gives annual budget”Support.He said the APP was worldng a,% a government department for the,last 40 years as a section officer the information ministry dealt with.its affairs.
Now it has an independent of directors, seven of whose members are from government while five members are from out said’ One member is from CPNE, two are professors of mass commination department of universities,. While others are eminent media persons, he added.
He said the board can be recon stetted and, ideally, the information Secretary should not be chair man of the board.The boards of PTV and PBC, said, have also been separated from their boards of management and the suggestion for further autono my could always be consider by the government.
The secretary said he benefited,’ immensely from the vast reservoirs of and experience of the4 delegates of the Safina conference. The information ministry would, keenly await the reports and recommendations prepared by Saftna” delegates, he added.-APP
Source: Businness Recorder