Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday that Right to Information Bill was being worked out very speedily, as the Senate Standing Committee on Information had been examining its draft, assuring that all stakeholders would be taken on board in this regard.
He disclosed this to the media after addressing the SAMS Certificates distribution ceremony for the anchorpersons who participated in a media course arranged by South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) here at the SAFMA House, where its General Secretary Imtiaz Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed and a large number of other senior journalists were also present.
The minister said he would help arrange a joint meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information with representatives of the APNS (All Pakistan Newspapers Society) and CPNE (Confederation of Pakistan News Editors) to further refined the Right to Information Bill for approval.
He added that recommendations given by these media bodies through newspapers advertisement would also be discussed in the meeting and incorporated in the Bill accordingly.
He said the government was committed to get this important Bill passed to formulate the Law and implement it as early as possible for the betterment of journalism in the country.
To a question, he made it clear that access to information concerning to national security could not be given to everyone, citing that it was the rule throughout the world that no country leaked its information which posed any sort of threat/damage to its national security.
Pervaiz Rashid said the Punjab governor had already promulgated an ordinance pertaining to Right of Information which had also been implemented in the province.
To another question regarding threats to journalists/media organization by the extremists groups/Taliban, the minister said provision of security and protection to the people of Pakistan, including the media community, was a responsibility of the state, assuring that the government would fulfill this prime responsibility at all costs.
To a query, he said the website ‘www.youtube.com’ was blocked by the previous government, adding that this website would soon be opened but after installation of filters to block the objectionable material i.e. blasphemous, religious extremism etc.
Earlier, addressing the ceremony, the minister said Pakistan and its society had earned each and every thing through hardwork and struggle, asserting, that was why, today’s media was more free, powerful and active.
Pervez Rashid, however, underscored the need for utilization of media’s energies for educating and creating awareness about various aspects of life and issues among the general public, besides exposing the truth/real facts before them.
He observed that ignorance had been taught in the educational institutions and it was promoted through TV, music and even the worship places that ultimately led the people to hate, extremism, intolerance and narrow mindedness. He stressed the need that everyone must take it as his/her responsibility to make efforts to purge society of these fatal social evils.
He also appreciated the senior journalist and analyst Imtiaz Alam for his invaluable efforts and struggle for existence of a free media in Pakistan.
In his welcome address, SAFMA General Secretary Imtiaz Alam underscored the need for improving the media dialogue at national level and analyzing the issues/facts in an impartial manner.
He added that Indian media had also needed the same, as its media sensationalized petty issues or any skirmish on the Line of Control.
Imtiaz Alam advised journalists, anchorpersons and media analyst to speak within the domain of their relevant subject and did not try to be ‘jack of all trade and master of none’ by speaking thoughtlessly on sorts of issues/fields. He cited that this would help make the media analysis more credible and thought provoking.
He also urged the government to get an evaluation of the media education being imparted in the colleges/universities, and also make the media courses/internship program in its youth development activities.
At the end, Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid distributed certificates among the participants of the course.