Rashid for finding a via media to end wage award row
KARACHI January 15,2005: The Federal Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed has asked the newspaper owners and the working journalists to find out a via media for the resolution of Wage Board Award controversy. He was speaking at the inauguration of the press freedom monitoring desk set up by the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) held at a local hotel on January 11.
Rashid said that he had to strike a balance between the journalist and the newspaper owners and see that the two carry on well.
He said that the government was giving more than its share of advertising funds to big newspapers which was about 80 percent instead of 70 percent and from the remaining funds the other newspapers were being accommodated.
He said that he knew about the dummy papers and it was the responsibility of the CPNE to point out their names. “We will delist them,” he added.
The minister said that the government was committed to freedom of the press and would ensure it was not gagged.
In his brief speech Rashid took an overview of the press in Pakistan and cautioned the newspapers and working journalists to keep an eye on national interest and to work for the solidarity of Pakistan.
The President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Ahfazur Rehman talked about the poor working condition of newspapers where either the journalists were not being paid properly or were being coerced to indulge in unethical practices.He said that wage board should be implemented in accordance with the decision of the board and findings of the superior judiciary.
Arif Nizami said that the government was using advertisements as tool to control newspapers. He said that there should be uniform and transparent policy of issuing advertisements to newspapers.
Many speakers who were invited to speak could not do so as some bitter exchange of words and personal criticism forced the organisers to cut short all further discussions.
The press freedom monitoring desk has been set up by the CPNE to check against breach of the norms of the freedom of press.
The desk would receive complaints from the newspapers and the working journalists against government, semi-government and other organisations, which in any way obstruct the smooth functioning of the press.
APP adds: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shaikh Rashid Ahmed while talking to the reporters after speaking as chief guest at the launching ceremony of the press freedom monitoring desk by the Council for Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has declared that Pakistan has emerged as a favourable country for foreign investment. He was optimistic that there would be a substantial increase in foreign investment in Pakistan.
Replying to a question, Rashid said there are no intentions for launching any operation in Balochistan nor any such thing has happened there.
He said the presence of security personnel for the protection of sensitive installation could not be construed as “an operation.”
The minister stated that the government desires a peaceful atmosphere there and wants to resolve the problems through negotiations. He said the parliamentary committee on Balochistan is also performing its job.
To another question, he pointed out that the situation in Wana is peaceful and the people are extending co-operation with the authorities.
To a question, he said President General Pervez Musharraf could undertake a visit to the province of Sindh as he wants to remove the apprehensions of the people of Sindh in this respect.
He said the President also desires to apprise the masses of the facts regarding the Kalabagh Dam.About the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, the minister was optimistic that this matter would also be settled.
Replying to a question, he pointed out that the next four months are important. He said during this period elections are to be held in Iraq, there will be a verdict on the Swiss case of Ms Benazir Bhutto, local bodies elections are to be held in the country and President Musharraf is to launch a campaign for the construction of Kalabagh Dam. The political parties are heading forward on reconciliation and moving ahead on other issues.
Replying to a question about an incident of assault on a lady doctor in Sui, the minister said the perpetrator of the crime irrespective of their affiliation, would be dealt with according to the law and such persons would not be spared. But if someone tries to achieve political objective through such a case, it would not be allowed.
Source: (Business Recorder