KARACHI: The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, have commended the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for celebrating 25th September as the National Newspaper Readership Day, endorsing the importance of the initiative as it will help promote reading habits in our society.The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, in his message for the National Newspaper Readership Day, highlighted its importance by saying, “Despite the growth of electronic and digital media, newspapers still play a significant role in creating awareness and educating the people about various economic and social issues. Currently, the world is facing the challenge of fake news and newspapers need to discourage this trend by promoting responsible, impartial, truthful and authentic journalism. Furthermore, newspapers are required to play its role in countering fake news and inculcating goods moral values in society.”
The president also urged all citizens of the country, particularly the youth, to develop the habit of reading to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the arena of international politics, economy, science and technology, particularly in the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data. Similarly, the prime minister of Pakistan also expressed his support towards the day and congratulated the APNS for such a step. “Newspaper is an important source of information for all. Despite variety of challenges faced by newspaper industry in the present age of modern media, importance of print media remains intact especially in combating the challenge of fake news and false information,” said Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, on the National Newspaper Readership Day.
Initiated last year, the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) declared 25th September as the National Newspaper Readership Day to promote newspaper reading habit in Pakistan. In the wake of the pandemic of Covid-19 where news travelled fast, it became extremely challenging to distinguish between fake and authentic information. This caused chaos and unrest in societies. Hence, it became all the more relevant and important to promote newspaper reading in the country so that our masses can identify real news against the fake one.
Furthering to the cause associated with the day, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chief Minister Punjab and Chief Minister Sindh also shared their messages highlighting the importance of National Newspaper Readership Day and congratulating APNS for their efforts.
Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, aptly said, “Despite aggressive inroads of digital broadcast, online and social media, relevance of print media, newspapers, can hardly be underestimated. It becomes even more credible because the menace of fake news has wracked havoc on the authenticity of information available for the public consumption; especially after the sensationalism of photo shopped videos and infographics in the social media.
“Reliance on well-researched facts for filing a news story so that it could pass the rigorous editorial check, before finding a place in print edition of a newspaper lends credibility to a print media story vis-à-vis hastily drafted and sometimes unscrupulous content of readily available means of dissemination of information," Shibli Faraz further added.
Newspapers have always been the source of authentic information with sources. Nothing goes into print without verification and absolute check and balance of truthfulness in content. This makes our traditional media first choice for accurate information. To promote newspaper reading habit for a balanced and well aware society, the APNS introduced the National Newspaper Readership Day with a message to fight fake news, adopt newspaper reading habit and also teach children to read newspapers for a balanced news and happenings.
For this, Chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, appreciated the APNS and urged all citizens to stand together with the cause. “Let’s all join hands and vow to develop a habit of reading newspapers and checking facts before falling prey to fake news and rumours.We should also instil the habit of reading newspaper in our children as well so that they grow up to become responsible and socially aware citizens of Pakistan,” shared Murad Ali Shah, CM Sindh.
This year APNS launched the National Newspaper Readership Day with a number of messages from “Don’t spread rumours. Spread verifiable news” to “We don’t cover up the fact. We uncover them” and from “Fight fake news. Pick a copy of a newspaper today and every day” to “Encourage your child to read. Start with a newspaper.” All these messages hold immense importance keeping in mind the time we live in and our social structure.
With the advent of social media, it was considered that newspapers will be dead in no time. However, with the influx of fake news and incorrect information, it made the existence of newspaper more important and relevant than ever. Print is completely based on facts and information with sources, which other media may not pay much importance to. Also, the stories in print are investigative and detailed, which the limited word count stories cannot compete with.
Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar also highlighted the importance of print media by sharing, “Newspaper reading is the need of the hour. The electronic media, in their fight for breaking the news, is damaging its own roots while social media, without any check and balance, is out of control and often false. Hence, in this time and age, newspaper reading becomes all the more important. I believe the habit of newspaper reading should be instilled in our people once again. Regular newspaper reading provides information and news to people as per their needs, interests and requirements, and keeps them updated.”
He further stated that newspapers represented the voice of our people that inculcated the spirit of freedom and independence pre 1947, when we were struggling for our identity and a separate homeland. These newspapers were at the forefront to fight for our cause and help unite the nation towards one single aim of achieving Pakistan. Today, he is proud to say that our newspapers have grown and developed themselves over the years, and can stand competition with any international newspaper across the globe.
Hameed Haroon, President APNS, said, “APNS is honoured to receive encouraging remarks from the government. Newspapers have always played their part in the betterment and progress of the country by highlighting important issues and providing feasible solutions to those. We are pleased that the government understands the importance of newspapers in society. It is due to their unwavering support and cooperation that APNS can thrive and make the messages associated with the day grow with time.”
Sarmad Ali, Secretary General APNS, shared, “The National Newspaper Readership Day is in its natal phase but with the support of the Government of Pakistan, it will continue to work on meaningful reading habits of the people of Pakistan, putting special emphasis on newspapers.”
The Government of Pakistan appreciated the remarkable initiative of the APNS to celebrate 25th September as the National Newspaper Readership day in order to educate readers about the importance and utility of reading newspapers for gaining access to reliable news in the times of massive proliferation of fake news through digital, online and social media outlets. As the prime minister of Pakistan rightly said, ”I strongly believe that a free press is a key to building an aware, self-reliant and educated society that exercises its will through democratic government.”
The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, also stated, “I really appreciate the initiative of APNS in promoting the habit of reading among the people which would significantly help in educating them about modern day’s problems and issues. I would also like to extend my heartfelt felicitations to the entire nation, APNS and newspapers on National Newspaper Reading Day.”