The Commonwealth Observer

Pakistan PM solicits the print media to help him battle unparalleled terror

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Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

Close to the two-year mark of his third stint in power, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has thought it prudent to address the media directly.

He did so at a meeting with the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors. This is a gathering of the people who matter in the print industry, a medium far older and regarded as more credible than the booming electronic media. What stood out during the PM’s address was the fact that Sharif was extending a hand to the media. Uncharacteristically he was asking for support and a working relationship during what is now a time of national crisis.

The nation is in the grip of a terror alert of the kind never before witnessed, he said. After the tragedy at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar two months ago, the nation woke up to frame a National Action Plan which, it seems, has also woken the PM from a slumber where the role of the media is concerned.

Sharif clearly wanted to enlist print media help of the media in his application of the action plan. He has asked the editors to set aside ratings and business concerns for two years to support the government in ridding the country of terrorism.

Government has realized that without their support word of any action will never be properly conveyed to the public. The government needs healthy ties with the media for the government’s commitment to be realized.

Never has this PM — or many before him — bothered to interact in this manner. He wants the

print media to feel they have a role to play in ending the terror. Yes, electronic media is claims the pubic eye in this day and age but it is the print editor and their deft columnists who can convincingly shape public opinion.

The government’s battle is not going according to plan. A consensus of all political parties must be behind it, all stakeholders mean business.

Sharif also spoke about normalizing relations with India, a welcome eventuality that could ease the high tensions in national border areas, specifically the Line of Control. He spoke of talks being initiated after the hiatus following Modi’s election to India’s prime ministership. A breakthrough could bring stability of not just the country but the region.

—Source Daily Times editorial

Photo credit: Number 10 / cc

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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