Govern­ment should do more for Press Free­dom

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

Lwas IKE other parts of the globe, in Pak­istan too, World Press Free­dom Day

ob­served on Tues­day but as com­pared to other coun­tries rhetoric was quite vis­i­ble here. There were cus­tom­ary state­ments from Govern­ment lead­ers, prom­i­nent fig­ures from other walks of life and from the jour­nal­is­tic community it­self but these were noth­ing but lip-ser­vice in view of state of af­fairs of press free­dom in the coun­try.

There has been mind-bog­gling pro­lif­er­a­tion of me­dia in Pak­istan dur­ing the last decade or so and with the pas­sage of time it has be­come a ma­jor in­dus­try pro­vid­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties to thou­sands of peo­ple. Me­dia is also play­ing a cru­cial and piv­otal role in shap­ing up opin­ion and pro­mot­ing aware­ness on im­por­tant is­sues. It is be­cause of this vi­tal role of me­dia that in coun­tries like those of Scan­di­navia, the gov­ern­ments ex­tend fi­nan­cial sup­port to even op­po­si­tion news­pa­pers. No doubt, the Govern­ment was not in­ter­fer­ing with the free­dom of me­dia but the over­all en­vi­ron­ment is not con­ducive for its growth on sound lines. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued by In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Jour­nal­ists (IFJ), Pak­istan has been ranked fourth most dan­ger­ous coun­try in the world for jour­nal­ists with 115 killings since 1990. Pak­istan is rated “Not Free” in the Free­dom of the Press In­dex 2016, and is ranked 147th out of 195 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries world­wide. There­fore, much needs to be done to en­sure se­cu­rity for me­di­a­per­sons and me­dia houses so as to cre­ate a se­cure en­vi­ron­ment for them to work in a truly in­de­pen­dent man­ner. In­stead of churn­ing out state­ments, it would be in the fit­ness of things if the Govern­ment, on the occasion of Press Free­dom Day, comes out with a con­crete plan of ac­tion, in con­sul­ta­tions with all stake­hold­ers, for pro­mo­tion of me­dia in­dus­try. Steps should also be taken to en­sure that peo­ple have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion in an un­hin­dered man­ner and for this pur­pose the Right to In­for­ma­tion leg­is­la­tion should be strength­ened at Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial lev­els.

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