‘Journalists safety bill be ready by November 20’

State Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Thursday said that the Ministry is preparing a bill on the safety and protection of journalists which will be ready by November 20.

Talking to journalists here on a dinner she said that the government wants to provide maximum security and safety to journalist community for which her Ministry will take all possible steps in close consultation with the journalists.

Marriyum said that the Ministry of Information is preparing a draft summary keeping in view global best practices to provide health insurance facilities to journalists. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that work on the right to information bill has almost been completed and it will soon be presented before the Parliament for approval. She termed the finalisation of the law as historic.

She expressed the hope that the draft of the bill will be approved by the cabinet during this month. She said the bill aims at security and protection of the journalists, besides their health insurance.

She said that the Ministry has finalised a plan to upgrade Pakistan Television (PTV) Academy in a bid to impart media men with modern training facilities, adding that the government in future will try to upgrade the academy to university level.

The Minister said that training of human resource and equipping the media persons and other mediums of information with latest technology is her top most priority to achieve that objective. She said that to keep updating the media persons of all the developments taking place, the government will hold special sessions wherein all the queries of the journalists will be answered.

Aurangzeb said that the government is also focusing on the capacity building of the journalists and for this purpose the academies of Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan will be utilised. She said that the training programmes will soon be started at PTV Academy Islamabad in collaboration with reputed institutions.

Marriyum Aurangzeb pointed out that Pakistan of today is much different than what it was in 2013 as the country has been put on the road to prosperity through mega projects in diverse fields including transport, communication, education and health.

She said that the counterterrorism initiative has improved the overall environment for foreign and domestic investment. She said the country has been put on the right and positive direction but the challenge is to build the image of the country both at home and abroad.

The Minister said that the ministry will involve the British Council and National University of Modern Languages (NUML) in improving the skills of the media persons.

She said that improving the overall conditions and facilities in press clubs of the major cities is the need of the hour for which her ministry will soon start a drive.

The Minister said that she will continue to visit the offices of media outlets to directly get the views of media persons and their problems, adding that in future she will also meet the media workers who are also a critical part of all organisations.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the government believes in independence of media and free flow of information. She said the media should strictly follow the Code of Conduct given by PEMRA and media organisations and channels should also design their own code of conducts.

-Business Recorder