Private media not allowed to cover Population Summit | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Private media not allowed to cover Population Summit

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Even though this week, many government officials and members of private organisations stressed that the government was making the issue of population growth a priority and that the media could play an important role in creating awareness about it, private media was not allowed to cover the Population Summit 2015 that began on Thursday.

Arrangements for the summit, which was attended by representatives from provincial governments and international experts, started many months ago. A media briefing was also held and invitations were extended to them.

The invitation card, available with Dawn, says the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and Population control had invited media representatives to the summit and asked them to be at Jinnah Convention Centre at 9am on Thursday.

However, when they reached the Convention Centre to cover the event, journalists were told they will not be allowed to enter as only PTV and the Associated Press of Pakistan were allowed to cover the event.

Abdul Waheed, a director at the NHS ministry, said he did not know why journalists were not allowed inside.

He said, “I was working inside the Convention Centre, but I did notice that only representatives of the public sector media was present. Although I can’t say exactly why this happened, I think it must be for security reasons.”

Former Senator Javed Jabbar, who is an advisor at the Population Centre, said he did not know why the media was stopped outside either.

He said, “Since I am not a government official, I have nothing to do with these decisions. I can only say that it was a very important event because many important people, including President Mamnoon Hussein, Minister Health Saira Afzal Tarar, and representatives from international agencies were attending.”

He added, “The summit should be seen as a success because it is the first time since 1955 that all participants of the summit agreed that the population issue is an important one.”