KARACHI: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said that rapid technological advancement had left little room to challenge independent media and value of freedom.
Addressing the participants, mainly journalists and media professionals, of a ceremony to mark Excellence in Journalism Awards 2018 at CEJ-IBA, he said that the concept of censorship was nowadays in its last phase as no government could be in a position to impose curbs or restrictions on the media.
“Technology will turn irrational the interventions to restrict public’s right to information,” he said in most categorical terms, emphasising that the distinction between right and responsibility must also be understood by all those associated with the field of media. Mentioning that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government cherished the value of freedom and considered it to be an inherent right of the journalist community, he said that in the “era of ideas” only professionals might flourish.
Responding to a suggestion made by an award winner about security and safety of the working journalists, he said that the government stands by the journalists and professionals associated with print and electronic media.
It was the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), he said, which during its last tenure worked for the security of journalists through the introduction of series of measures such as insurance cards, etc.
“We are now in the process of introducing a bill in the National Assembly (NA) pertaining to the protection of the journalist community,” he said and particularly referred to the proposal for health insurance cards for working journalists.
Reiterating that the present federal government was fully conscious of the modern day needs, he said that with the fast-changing media, different divisions of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were also being modernised.
“Focus will be on updated training and education of the youth,” he said, mentioning that making optimum use of available resources in terms of building material and human resource, a media university was in the offing.
“The envisaged university will comprise training schools encompassing a diversity of the subjects, besides an engineering school,” he said, adding the country where radio transmitters were locally manufactured, could now be witnessed even importing needles.
Earlier, awards were conferred upon winners in different categories, including excellence in English reporting for newspapers and online content; Urdu newspapers and Urdu online content; excellence in reporting for radio and TV, and excellence in reporting for district correspondents.
The winners, having contributed to issues related to health rights, child rights and women rights, represented different parts of the country and clinched awards on basis of their investigation and research-based approach.
Winners included Zofeen Ibrahim, Hina Said, M Atif Shaikh, Xari Jalil, Ghulam Dastgir and M Rizwan Safdar, Rashda Sadiq Kayani, Saman Khan, Mureed Mohammad, Umer Bacha, and M Yousuf.
It was appreciated that the winners on subjects related to women rights mainly comprised men contributors reflecting a pleasant and much-needed change in the public perception. The ceremony was also addressed by senior journalists, including Ghazi Salahuddin.