ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Thursday said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government has firm belief that responsible and independent media was imperative to sustain and nurture democratic norms in the country.
Addressing as chief guest at the inaugural session of two-day national conference, organized by Press Council of Pakistan, Kaira paid tributes to the journalists community for their struggle for independence of media.
The minister said no doubt media persons have rendered unprecedented sacrifices, but political workers have also supported them in their cause. Kaira said for the first time in country’s history the right to information had been ensured to the citizens through the passage of 18th Amendment. The minister said the media criticism was an important component of the accountability process but the balloting was real platform for accountability in the democratic world. He said, “the present government has never stopped the advertisements of any media house despite the fact that certain media groups launched vilification campaign against it”.
He, however, said that media freedom should also bring responsibility as there is no concept of freedom without responsibility. Kaira said that three other pillars of the state work under some code and media should also adopt some code of conduct for its working. He said that the government has no intention to impose any regulations on the media, there should be some organization to implement the code of conduct adopted by the media itself.
He appealed to the media to verify the facts before printing or telecasting a story as news without verification is tantamount to character assassination and media trial of somebody, who may prove innocent in the court of justice.
In advanced democracies defamation laws are very strong and nobody dares to indulge in character assassination of any person, he said. The minister said that in the developed world, talk shows are not held on sub-judice issues but in Pakistan anchorpersons issue their own judgments and try to influence the courts. The minister said that the credit of making PCP functional goes to its Chairman Raja Sahfqat Abbasi but time has come that it should start addressing the complaints. The minister said the government was working to facilitate media growth, despite the fact that a section of press was involved in mudslinging against the PPP leadership. The minister asked the media not to make caricatures of political figures as it was not in the national interest. He also lamented that the TV channels only make cartoons of the politicians, but they do not dare make such cartoons of the heads of other institutions.
He said that there is no doubt that judiciary is the most respectable institution and it should be respected, but we should also keep in mind that the Parliament is the representative of over 180 million people.