Collective efforts needed to evolve counter narrative to extremism: Marriyum

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APP93-18 ISLAMABAD: April 18 – Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for IB & NH addressing an International Seminar on “Pakistan in 21st Century Perception Management”. APP

ISLAMABAD April 18 (APP): Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a seminar themed “Pakistan in 21st Century: Perception Management”
at the National Defence University (NDU) here Tuesday said that a collective effort was needed to evolve a counter-narrative against the ideology of hate and terrorism with a view to eradicate the scourge from the country.
The minister said the country’s armed forces and law enforcing agencies had rendered unprecedented sacrifices to eliminate terrorism physically
and had almost broken the back of the terrorist entities.
She said the ideology of hate and terrorism found a foothold in the country due to lack of an effective counter-narrative and had this aspect been taken care of, incidents like Mardan could have been avoided.
The minister felt that after having achieved successes against the terrorists it was
now the right time to defeat them on the ideological front as well by developing a counter-narrative based on love, peace and tolerance.
She said that it was also imperative to focus on perception management about Pakistan which was absolutely essential to project soft image of the country among the comity of nations.
Marriyum said that it was imperative to eradicate the culture of intolerance and adopting a soft methodology to speak the language of love, culture and tolerance to defeat the extremist mindset.
Being mindful of this need the PML (N) government has taken a number of steps to inculcate the culture of tolerance and love in the country.
It was also making strenuous efforts to project, arts, diversity and richness of the culture and the adorable heritage of the country, she added.
Marriyum said that a policy to regulate films and broadcast production was in the offing because the government believed that films were the powerful medium in reinforcing the cultural values and developing a counter-narrative to the ideology of hate.
The minister said that the government was also working on developing a curricula for the educational institutions that would include chapters on social harmony, love and tolerance to develop a healthy mindset among the youth and to make them useful citizens of the country.
She said that it was due to the policies pursued by the present government that there
has been a marked improvement in the security and economic environment of the country and projects like CPEC were coming to Pakistan which have the potential to usher in a transformational change not only in Pakistan but the entire region.
The minister reiterated that Pakistan was a peace loving country and wanted friction-free relations with all its neighbours.
The minister referring to the role of media in regards to projection of the soft image of Pakistan appreciated its overall efforts during the past ten years.
However she felt that media needed proper training and awareness about the professional code of conduct and media ethics to be able to self-regulate itself, rather through interventions by the regulatory authorities.
She informed the audience that the Information Services Academy had prepared a comprehensive curricula for training and capacity building of the media professionals. She said that freedom of expression was imperative for progressive and democratic societies but it also made it incumbent on the media to exhibit sense of social responsibility.
The minister remarked that under the prevailing situation in the country the top narrative of the TV talk shows must be eradication of intolerance from the society and promotion of the culture of love, peace, patience and tolerance.
That effort needs to be supplemented with children-specific programmes on TV channels including the PTV which had six channels, she added.
Eulogizing the efforts of the NDU for organizing the seminar, the minister
observed that such seminars should also be held at public sector universities and other educational institutions to counter negative and fissiparous tendencies and building a harmonious society.
She said that 70 years of independence would be befittingly celebrated throughout the country and a campaign has already been launched on the media to highlight the milestones of the freedom struggle and the success stories of individuals who contributed to consolidation of the gains of independence.
In his speech President NDU Lt Gen Rizwan Ahmed said that perception management mattered a lot in the world as the countries were judged on the touchstone of the permeating perceptions about them.
He also called for soul searching and looking inward to overcome the problems being faced by the country. He said that now perception of a country was part of media warfare and negative perceptions about various countries were portrayed by design.