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Government believes in freedom of the press, says Punjab minister

WPFD Seminat stage
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Malik Iqbal Channar addresses World Press Freedom Day seminar
by RMNP

Chanigoth (Rural Pakistan) May 4, 2014 – Punjab Minister for Cooperatives Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channar has said that PML(N) government believes in the freedom of press and would provide safety cover to them so they could perform their duties in a peaceful environment. These views were expressed by him while addressing the World Press Freedom Day seminar entitled “Media Freedom for a Better Future“ in the premises of Union Council Hall Chanigoth, organized by the Rural Media Networks Pakistan in collaboration with National Press Union and Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharia.

The seminar was chaired by President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar while Professor Doctor Sajjad Paracha of Media Studies Department Islamia University Bahawalpur was key note speaker. Syed TanveerulHassan Bukhari acted as compare. The provincial minister underlined the need for responsible journalism and paid rich tributes to Pakistan’s armed forces for their services which they were rendering in the defence of our mother land. He stated that the media should play its key role in strengthening the national institutions and should foil the nefarious designs of our enemies. The Punjab Minister said the PML(N) government came into power due to its transparent record during last five year rule of Shahbaz Sharif, in the biggest province of the country. He lauded the positive role of the media for highlighting the issues of the downtrodden and in building a good image of PML(N)’s democratic governance.

Malik Iqbal Channar told the media men hailing from Bahawalpur and RahimyarKhan districts that the PML(N) government would welcome positive criticism, so we have no intention to impose a ban on media in future. He claimed that PML(N) government has provided a huge amount for the uplift of the backward areas of South Punjab, and that record development projects were executed in Bahawalpur division during last five years. The Minister cited the examples of the establishment of a 400 bed district head quarter hospital in Bahawalpur and big road projects as examples.

Dr Professor Sajjad Paracha of Media Studies Islamia University Bahawalpur in his key note address said that independent media are essential for protecting and ensuring fundamental rights. However the media are often complicit in covering up human rights abuses by governments and social groups,he observed. He stated that media should promote more awareness among the masses regarding their rights and concomitant responsibilities. He highlighted the role of social, electronic and print media in Pakistan and termed Pakistan media as mature. Professor Dr Sajjad Paracha suggested that higher education institutions should be strengthened so they become fully capable to prepare such media professionals who could fulfil their responsibly to cope with the challenges of ensuring fundamental rights and a free but responsible media in Pakistan.

RMNP President Ehsan Ahmed Sehar presented the RMNP annual press freedom report and said that eight journalists and four media workers have been killed in the line of duty since Nawaz Sharif came into power last year. He outlined his concerns for the members of media in Pakistan, making a number of recommendations for the future. President RMNP highlighted the significant dangers facing journalists in different areas of the country, referring to killing of 15 journalists and four media workers during last sixteen months and demanded an end to the impunity which continues to abound in Pakistan. He declared that Rural Media Network Pakistan would vehemently oppose any actions to close any channel, and expressed his solidarity with Hamid Mir, Raza Romi and all other journalists who were attacked recently.He also condemned threats given to Imtiaz Alam and Ansar Abbasi, and the arrest of local journalist Suhail Khan in Bahawalnagar.

Earlier PML(N) leader & Ex Vice Chairman district Council Rahim YarKhan Malik Junaid Aslam Naich, District President PML(QA) Bahawalpur Syed Salahuddin Ahmed Jeelani,Ex-Chairman District Council Bahawalpur Syed Mehmood Akbar Rizvi, PPP leader Muhammad Akram,PTI leader Jam Saadat Abbas, Bahawalur province movement leader Jam Muhammad Ali and journalists Mazhar Raheed,Shahid Bashir,Tariq Khan Abbasi, and Arbi Abbasi addressed the seminar while RMNP tehsil coordinator Muhammad Salman Farooqi read the message of Director General UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova. World Press Freedom Day messages from DCMF,WAN-IFRA, the CJA, and IPI were also distributed among participants.

Press Freedom Training AwardIn the concluding session, Punjab Minister gave RMNP’s press freedom cash training award to Nasir Hameed, while Professor Dr Sajjad Pracha presented the RMNP cash press freedom training award to Nauman Masood Khan.

Photos: top – Punjab Minister Malik Iqbal Channar, Professor Dr Sajjad Paracha and Ehsan Ahmed Sehar at RMNP World Press Freedom Day Seminar in Chanigoth.
Left – Dr Professor Sajjad Paracha giving RMNP press freedom training award to Nauman Masood Khan

Photos courtesy of RMNP

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