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September 20, 2019

Media courts won’t be approved without consensus: NA Speaker

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September 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser assured that the law relating to establishment of media tribunals will be formulated after consultations with the media, and that without achieving a consensus it will not be approved.

“No law will be framed which is against the media workers rather their rights will be fully protected and the media workers will be made part of the proceedings of the standing committee discussing the media tribunals law,” he said while addressing a ceremony in connection with the oath taking of Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) here at the Parliament House on Thursday.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Awan was also present in the ceremony. The PRA office bearers who took the oath including President PRA Behzad Saleemi, Vice President Sohail Khan, Secretary MB Somoro, Secretary Information Ali Sher, Secretary Finance Intizar Haideri and governing body members Asif Yasin, Nausheen Yousaf, Javedur Rehman, Zeshan Shamsi, Hafiz Abdul Majid, Akram Abid Qureshi, Ahmed Talal, Nadir Gaurmani, Zahid Yaqoob Khawaja and Rizwan Dhilon.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser categorically stated that there is no threat to democracy in the country. “We are passing through a transitional period and with the passage of time, the democracy will gain strength,” he said.

He said the people will reject the government if it fails to perform. He also criticised the political parties for not conducting the intra-party elections and stressed the need for democracy within the parties through intra party polls. “The media should raise its voice for strengthening of democracy within the parties,” he said.

He said when the political workers will not get respect then the democracy could not flourish. “Getting the posts with act of flattering cannot strengthen the democracy and we have to change our system,” he said.

The Speaker National Assembly said the country was facing economic challenges and since 1948 to 9/11 incident the country was passing through war situation and its effects were still facing. He said Pakistan since its existence had faced economic challenges due to different wars including wars with India, Afghan war and war on terrorism. “The Afghan war and war on terror had affected the country’s economy and caused tragedy in every province and city,” he said.

He said the United States watched its own interest and left the region ignoring the numerous sacrifices by Pakistan’s armed forces, police and civilians. The Speaker National Assembly said the PRA is most powerful association than other journalists unions and press clubs as it has influence on the Parliament.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Media Tribunals would be constituted after evolving consensus among all the stakeholders. She said the issue was discussed in the previous cabinet meeting regarding publication of some fake news by a section of media and no draft had been prepared so far.

She said the draft will be finalised on the return of Prime Minister Imran Khan and then it will be shared with the media. “There should be out of box solution for it as we cannot leave the media workers into lurch,” she said.

She said that Pakistan Electronic Media Authority and Press Council of Pakistan would be restructured to meet the requirements of the media industry. She said in the new legislation, interests of media workers would be protected.

The Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information said the media being the fourth pillar of the state should act with responsibility. She said the Prime Minister is committed to make the media fully functional as this segment of the society guides the government in strengthening the democracy, development and stability in the country.

She said media is backbone of the state and it should be empowered because Pakistan could engage the world on any issue through media. She said our media is playing a positive and constructive role regarding improvement in economy, promotion of investment-friendly environment and other steps of the government. Dr Firdous said the Parliament and media should be on the same page for protection of the rights of general public.

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