No freeloader journalists on PM’s foreign trips
By: KHAWAR GHUMMAN
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided in principle not to bear expenses of journalists belonging to media houses in the private sector accompanying the prime minister on his foreign trips.
The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the ministries of information and foreign affairs to inform the media houses that if they are interested in the coverage of the premier’s visit to China, starting from July 4, they can do it, but at their own expense.
An official told Dawn that the government would take care of issuance of visa and accreditation card, travel and lodging, but the visiting media persons or their organisations would have to bear the expenses.
The official said the decision was not for the prime minister’s visit to China only but for all his tours abroad.
He said expenditures incurred on journalists accompanying the prime minister on his foreign trips in the past were paid from the secret fund of the information ministry.
But now the PML-N government has abolished secret funds of not only the information ministry but also of other departments, except organisations which spend money on matters relating to national security.
He said even the size of the official media team had been slashed to five persons from over 20 in the past.
“Frankly speaking, the government has no money to spend on unnecessary things,” he added.
The official said the government had also decided to keep the size of all delegations of the prime minister restricted to the staff as per the requirement of the trip.
He said the entourage of the prime minister during his visit to China would comprise 30 people, including his security staff, official media, politicians and personal staff.