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LAHORE, Jan 16 (APP): Special Assistant to Chief Minister (SACM) Punjab on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has urged journalist community to discharge their duties with neutrality and do not associate themselves with any political party.

Talking to journalists at Lahore Press Club on Saturday, she said the media should exercise its right to freedom and expression without compromising their authenticity and added that politics and journalism could not go together.

She said that journalist or any journalist organisation could not become subsidiary of any political party. She said if any journalist wanted to join politics, he should quit journalism.

She urged journalists to use their pen in positive manner and give priority to national interests.

Dr Firdous said that the country was facing economic crisis and other challenges and the incumbent government was trying its best to steer it out of crisis. She said that the government wanted to protect jobs of journalists and added that there should be proper hire and fire policy in the media organisations.

The SACM said that retrenchment of journalists without a valid reason should be discouraged. She said that the media had become an industry and it was necessary that the rights of workers related to the field were protected.

She said that the government would bring new media policy in Punjab to strengthen the field of journalism. It was imperative to frame rules to smoothly regulate the media industry, she added.

Dr Firdous said, “The government wants to set up media tower and media training/ coaching academy for capacity building of journalists.” She suggested that journalists should make one committee on their core issues for solution to their problems. She promised that she would take up the genuine grievances of journalists at federal level for their solution.

She said that institutional reforms were highly important to strengthen departments and added that whenever steps were taken to rectify the system, problems take place.

Dr Firdous said that everybody talks about changing the system, but no one wanted to change himself.