Govt striving to strengthen freedom of expression: Marriyum Aurangzeb

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ISLAMABAD, May 3 (APP): Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday said that the government was striving to strengthen freedom of expression by creating a safe and congenial environment for the media workers.
This she said in her message on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day being observed today. Following is the text of the message:
“We join the world community in celebrating the World Press Freedom Day with an abiding commitment to uphold the freedom of Press, a commitment stemming from our national belief that a free and pluralist media was not only essential for advancement of peace and justice within the society but also for promoting Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN, which was obligatory on us as a responsible member of the comity of nations.
Today the media in Pakistan enjoys unfettered freedom of expression and the incumbent government is striving to strengthen that freedom by creating a safe and congenial atmosphere for the media workers. It is the earnest hope and effort of the government to minimize the regulatory interventions and encouraging a self-regulatory mechanism by the media so that it can perform its role as a fourth pillar of the state in a free and fair manner, with the responsibility that comes with freedom of expression and is obligatory on the journalists. In regards to creating a safe and secure environment for the journalists, the government is contemplating to introduce legislation for the welfare and protection of the Journalists. The government will soon promulgate an improved version of the Access to Information Bill designed to improve governance. It is also engaged in a consultative process with the representative bodies of the media for the formation of a Wage Board Award for the media workers.
While the media is regarded as a watchdog against the government, the government also has a responsibility to ensure that all entities within the territorial confines of the country while enjoying their freedoms and rights also discharge their obligatory duties with the same zeal and enthusiasm. In that sense the media and government have complimentary roles in the task of nation building. I as Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage being responsible for promoting cordial relations between the government and the media, on behalf of the government, would like to extend assurances to the journalist community that all possible efforts would be made to protect their rights and providing a safe environment for the discharge of their professional duties, hoping that the press would continue to show the same level of responsibility that it has been demonstrating in the past.”