Media freedom guarantees sustainable democracy: Mansoor Sohail
By Tahir Khalil
ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary Information and Broadcasting Mansoor Sohail has said media’s freedom guarantees sustainable democracy. He said freedom of the media was essential for national solidarity and strengthening democratic norms.
This he said in a briefing to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here Friday. The PAC meeting held here at the Parliament House was presided over by Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and attended by Riaz Fatyana, Afzal Chan and Saeed Ahmed Zafar.
Mansoor Sohail told the meeting that the National Press Trust (NPT) has land worth billions of rupees in the country and it is also party to several court cases on property disputes. The APC asked the secretary information to present a report about confiscation of NPT land.
Mansoor Sohail said the government believes in the policy of free media and all the departments of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting are working to promote national unity.Participants of the meeting severely criticised the performance of the state-run radio. The secretary information said the Prime Minister Secretariat has taken notice of mismanagement in the state-run radio and ordered an inquiry in this regard.
He said several inquiries have been going on simultaneously into the affairs of the radio. He said the PM Secretariat has given several instructions about the affairs of the radio and steps have been taken in this regard.
Mansoor Sohail said Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has been formed to regulate the affairs of electronic media. He said increase has been witnessed in the non-development budget of the state-run radio which will be brought down. He said the ministry is also mulling the option to tie the financial matters of the state-run radio and TV.
The secretary information told the PAC that the Japan government had announced grant for education channel in three phases but this grant was utilised in News and World channels of the state-run TV due to which Japan stopped the remaining amount of the grant. He said an inquiry has been ordered into the matter. Mansoor Sohail assured that the ministry would act upon the directions of the PAC for improving its financial matters.
Source: The News