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PM won’t patronise media groups with foreign interests: Fayyaz

By Our Correspondent
December 13, 2018

LAHORE: The PTI government is media-friendly and federal and provincial governments are issuing advertisements regularly and their bills have been paid, said provincial Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan while addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the Akhbar Farosh Union Wednesday at the Alhamra Arts Council.

The minister said every institution is respectable for the government. According to him, those media groups which promote international interests, Prime Minister Imran Khan will not provide patronise them.

He said those media workers who get Rs10,000 salary are being laid off while who get Rs4 to 8 million salaries are being given importance. It will not be tolerated. The PTI has made advertisements policy, he added.

Ch Nazir, president newspapers sellers association, said journalism and politics are two wheels of democracy which go hand-in-hand. Journalism always strengthens politics, he added. According to him, 4,000 hawkers deliver newspapers in Lahore in one hour to serve the nation. Imran Khan is a blessing for the country. He should protect the media industry and do something to eliminate the crisis.

Media owners, circulation managers, writers, photographers and others attended the ceremony. They demanded the government to protect this industry. According to them, media industry is facing crisis and they appealed to the premier to save it. Imran should revisit policy towards this industry, they added. The speakers said media industry is facing financial crisis during the PTI government.

The minster administered oath to office-bearers of the union and congratulated them. It is pertinent to mention that these representatives were elected unopposed. Ch Nazir Ahmad and Sajjad Azeem were elected unopposed president and vice president of the union respectively. Senior vice president Imtiaz Ahmad, general secretary Muhammad Illyas, joint secretary Rana Maqsood, office secretary Awais Qureshi, finance secretary Malik Tanvir and secretary information Sh Umar Yaseen took oath.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at Al-Hamra Arts Council in connection with the department’s 100-day performance, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan said the press laws prepared by Information Department concerned with the licensing of books and the freedom of expression in all products in the printing press, especially newspapers.

He said the previous regime had not adopted the press laws while the subject was devolved to the provinces in the wake of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. Consequently, matters were being run in the absence of an appropriate legislation framework, he added. He said that the present regime after holding the office took steps to enact the press laws and a bill “Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Act, 2018.”

Under the Act, the provincial audit bureau of circulation press registrar offices would be established which would provide a platform to the printers and publishers as well for redress of their grievances.

Moreover, the present government has revised the Advertisement Policy, 2018 under which categorisation of newspapers would be specified into regional, provincial and national category. This policy would outline the advertisement rates for print, electronic, social and digital media, besides ensuring monthly reconciliation by the departments with DGPR all matters of billing and payments as well as evolving a robust mechanism for prequalification of the advertisement agencies transparently, he said.

He said that the cultural and creative sector in the recent years had increasingly become an important area of focus for the policy makers. The Punjab government has worked on developing a cultural policy to further strengthen the sector which is expected to bring dividends for the people of Punjab, he added.

The minister said that cultural activities did not only help build collective identity and social cohesion but were also a forum to celebrate diversity within the culture. The cultural and creative industries can be a catalyst for economic growth. He said that the provincial government while coming in power had focused culture so a comprehensive culture policy had come to the fore while taking all the stakeholders like writers, artists, performers, musicians, educationists and other culture related professionals into confidence. “The PTI-led government is making all-out effort to make the Information Department a vigorous and vibrant and this vibrancy would not be limited to snobbery but robust steps would soon be witnessed by our public,” he added.

The minister said that during its 100 days the government while following its vision was committed to promoting cultural activities in the province which included setting-up Al-Hamra Academy of Performing Arts, upgradation of Open Air Theatre at Jinnah Garden reflecting the international model with historical architecture, establishment of Bhakkar Arts Council at a cost of Rs 200 million and conservation and restoration of Lahore Museum building at a cost of Rs.400 million.

The culture minister said that the artist community was a national asset and welfare of the artists was a foremost duty of the government. He said that the department had launched health insurance card scheme for artists, their allied persons and their families as well which would benefit around 6,000 families in terms of medical and health facilities.

Moreover, during the current financial year Artists Welfare Fund at a cost Rs 70 million was also established. Very first time in the history of Punjab a musical talent hunt show titled “Voice of Punjab” is going to be launched from February 16, 2019.

INP adds: The minister criticized Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz, saying that he should come to the assembly instead of taking secret paths. Talking to media, he said Hamza damaged his party’s repute by trying to escape from the country. He said the corrupt must face cases with courage they demonstrated while looting the national wealth.

He termed PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique Humpty Dumpty, saying that those who had only motorcycles were now billionaires. He said it was easy to formulate laws but it’s hard to implement them completely and that only those who were not corrupt could execute them.