ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday said the return of international cricket to Pakistan was made possible by peaceful conditions in the country, for which the government and the people had played a very significant role.
She inaugurated the first ever Asia Peace Film Festival in Pakistan, which is being participated by about 50 countries to screen about 940 films.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the festival, being held at Pakistan National Council of the Arts under the auspices of Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, the minister said that the festival would help in highlighting the national identity of Pakistan.
She said that the holding of this festival was crucial.
Marriyum observed that every person who had fought for the revival of peace in the country deserved to be complimented. Pakistan, she said, has rendered unparalleled sacrifices in the war against terrorism and has fought many battles against this scourge.
Dilating on the importance of films, she said that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the formulation of a policy for the film industry, under which a national commission for films was being established and a ‘film fund’ was also envisaged along with setting up a fund for assistance to the artists. She said that a number of concessions were also being extended on the import of gadgets for the production of quality films.
She said, “We have gone through a difficult phase but still a lot is needed to be done.”
PNCA Director General Jamal Shah, in his discourse, said, “We could usher in social change through films. Being a powerful medium, films should be used to foment peace, which was need of the hour.”
Marriyum highlights role of media in strengthening democracy, fight against terrorism
Earlier, she said that media had played a sterling role in defending and strengthening democracy and fight against terrorism, like the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies.
The minister said that the PML-N government, which stood for safeguarding the rights of media, could never think of putting curbs on it, adding that those who were responsible for drafting the anti-media bill would be accorded due punishment. She asserted that welfare and protection of the media and journalists were part of party’s manifesto.
The minister said that with a view to promoting welfare of the journalist and ensuring safe working environment for them the federal government was contemplating to promulgate ‘Journalist Welfare and Protection Bill’, which was in the last stages of preparation.
Marriyum said that for the capacity building of the journalists, the government was also planning to commence training courses for them at the Information Service Academy.
She said that Pakistan had made appreciable economic progress during the last four years and the entire world was endorsing and acknowledging the turn-around in its economy.
Dilating on the role of the media in the society, the minister said that it was their professional and ethical obligation to ensure truthful reporting of the events and government policies. She said that other than criticising the government, it was also incumbent upon the journalists to disseminate information about the development work done by it as it was connected to their fundamental rights.
‘RIGHT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION BILL TO ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY, GOOD GOVERNANCE, TRANSPARENCY’
Talking about the ‘Right of Access to Information Bill-2017’, she said it would help in ensuring accountability, good governance and transparency in the public sector departments and organisations.
The minister, while moving a 29-clause bill in the National Assembly, said: “Under the proposed law, everybody will be accountable before people of Pakistan, as they will get the sought information within ten days of their request.”
She said that all the parliamentarians should take pride in contributing to the finalisation of the bill as it also formed part of manifestoes of every political party.
The minister asserted that the bill would be a far better piece of legislation as compared to bills on the same subject introduced in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab assemblies.
The minister said that unlike other new initiatives, the bill contained all requisite rules, so that information officers and information commission could start working immediately.
She praised efforts of the parliamentarians, including Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, Kamil Ali Agha, Farhatullah Babar, Zahid Hamid, Mushahidullah Khan, Pervaiz Rashid for playing important role in finalising the draft of the bill.