'Right to information, freedom of expression are important for ensuring human rights' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Right to information, freedom of expression are important for ensuring human rights’

ISLAMABAD: The right to information and freedom of expression are preconditions for a transparent debate and for ensuring basic human rights, said Ambassador of Denmark Ole Thonke on Tuesday.

The ambassador was speaking at a Journalism Excellence Award ceremony hosted by International Media Support in collaboration with think tank Individualland (IL) Pakistan.

Mr Thonke said that the media plays a vital role in democratic societies as it provides access to information and acts as a watchdog.

“We support the media in Pakistan because the promotion of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights are key priorities for the foreign policy in Pakistan and the rest of the world. We believe that freedom of expression is important for every democratic society,” he said.

Congratulating the winners, he said Denmark’s support for the freedom of expression and a free and diverse media is intended to contribute to the development of a platform for democratic debate, to reduce poverty and to promote peace and security in Pakistan.

“By putting regional or district level information on the national agenda, we support a crucial process needed to support the overall national development in Pakistan,” Mr Thonke said.

He awarded the 11 winners from print and electronic media from the four regions for their outstanding journalism and reporting skills and for highlighting regional issues pertinent to national development.

Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors representative Rubina Rasheed said promoting regional media and news stories for the greater development of the media also improves reporting skills in Pakistan.

“Journalists need to be continuously engaged through such interventions to ensure their [skills improve] and that information becomes more accessible,” she said.

The ceremony was held under IL’s small grants programme with the aim to recognise the best news stories from various regions showcasing critical analysis and information on important issues from their local areas.

To apply for the media grant, journalists were asked to submit proposals on issues of interests, which were reviewed by a grants committee consisting of senior journalists and media experts.

IL Executive Director Gulmina Bilal said that despite a lack of facilities in many far lung areas, journalists had shown great enthusiasm and worked hard on developing important stories.