Media enjoys unprecedented freedom: Shaukat formally launches Aaj TV -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media enjoys unprecedented freedom: Shaukat formally launches Aaj TV

KARACHI ,May 22 2005: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that his government’s policy is to encourage establishment of new TV channels because it creates employment and work opportunities for journalists, cameramen, artistes and musicians. Addressing the formal launching of ‘Aaj’ TV at a local hotel on Saturday, he said that media “is absolutely free” in Pakistan and it has to play a vital role, through appreciation and criticism, to keep the nation united and progressing, rather than demoralising it. He said that the duty of the government is to open the doors and create opportunities in an enabling environment to improve the quality of life of its citizens, “and it is up to them to take benefit” from the opportunities through hard work.

The Prime Minister advised the TV channels to take guidance from President Musharraf’s concept of modern enlightenment and present their programmes keeping in view the culture and traditions. They should not cross the cultural limits, which created a negative impact on the society.

Shaukat said that his government formulates all policies keeping in view national interests, and the channels should also follow this norm because supreme national interest is above all considerations.

He said that as many as 37 licensed TV channels in the country would face the challenge of being first in giving news. He said that the TV channels would come up to the challenge with creativity and integrity in their telecasts.

He expressed hope that ‘Aaj’ TV would present clean entertainment programmes to its audience so that its programmes are popularly watched by people day and night, and the country could make progress with the development in electronic media.

The Prime Minister said that television dramas and musical programmes, produced locally, indicate that there is no dearth of artistic talent in the country and that “our artistes can compete” with anyone in the world, especially with India.

He paid rich tributes to the services of M A Zuberi, Chief of Recorder Television Network, for the development of print and electronic media in the country. He particularly noted that three generations of Zuberi’s family had entered the field of journalism and were carrying on his mission of honest and selfless journalism.

Shaukat also paid rich tributes to the role of daily Business Recorder, which is the first financial newspaper of the country, and has established credibility of its reports. He said that successive governments had formulated policies as suggested in the newspaper editorials. In this connection, he referred to the newspaper’s stand against nationalisation of commercial and industrial units and its suggestions for taxing income and not the wealth.

He said that the credibility of news and balanced approach maintained by the paper in its news analysis had been recognised both within and outside the country.

The Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Iftikhar Rashid, said that ‘Aaj’ TV was the first Pakistani channel, which was uplinked from Pakistan. It has developed its network with indigenous technical and material resources.

He said that ‘Aaj’ TV has also the distinction that it can telecast live programmes from its studios in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. He said that Pemra had issued 73 licences for TV channels and FM radios.

Iftikhar spoke about the limited spectrum needed for TV channels and called for formulating a long-term policy for allocation of spectrum keeping in view the need for expansion and development of broadcasts.

He advised the TV channels to adopt a self-regulatory policy to judge and scrutinise the contents of their programmes so that Pemra should not have to interfere in their working. The Pemra chief assured every assistance to the management of new TV channels.

He referred to M A Zuberi, who had said that journalism was a sacred profession, and said that the electronic media had greater responsibility towards the profession. He expressed the hope that the ‘Aaj’ TV programmes would provide guidelines to other TV channels “as the process of accountability plays a vital role” in the economic development and progress of the country.

Addressing the ceremony, the Chief of Recorder Television Network, M A Zuberi, said that he was appointed as a sub-editor in Dawn Delhi, by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and throughout his career he followed the Quaid’s golden journalistic advice to give credit where its was due, and criticise where necessary. “Don’t ask for favours, nor give any”.

He said he served as a ‘reporter’ in the critical period of 1944-45, when the Pakistan Movement was at its peak. Later, he was transferred to Dawn, Karachi, as an assistant editor, where he had the distinction to publish the first Pakistan Day Edition of Dawn.

He said that he was removed from his job for writing editorials against the Martial Law of Ayub Khan. Later he founded the First financial newspaper of the Islamic world, Business Recorder, with the help of his colleagues.

Zuberi was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his services to the journalistic profession.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad, Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim and a large number of prominent persons attended the ‘Aaj’ TV launching ceremony.

The main focus of attraction at the show was the Indian film director, Maheesh Bhat, and Pakistani film actress Meera, besides a number of film and TV artistes.

Rashid, referring to an interview of a notorious dacoit on a TV channel, advised the electronic media to differentiate between the oppressor and the oppressed.

He said that the progress made by media in the past two years was not witnessed in the last 50 years. “The credit for this goes to the Prime Minister.”

He described the ‘Aaj’ TV as a pure Pakistani channel, and said that the number of channels would increase to 700 and people would get tired of tracking them through remote.

Sheikh Rashid emphasised the importance of electronic media and said that they can be used as a ‘life saving drug’ as well as a weapon of mass destruction, depending on their use.
Source: Business Recorder