Sherry announces hotline for journalists
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Sherry Rehman on Saturday announced to set up a hotline in the ministry to facilitate working journalists’ access to information.
“I have decided to set up a hotline in the ministry to facilitate working journalists to get information,” she said while addressing a function arranged by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) in connection with the World Press Freedom Day.
The government is fully committed to free flow of information to the public, she said, adding that the PPP governments in its previous tenures had also taken a number of steps for the rights of the people.
Talking about the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Sherry said the government would not use this body to control the private TV channels.
She said soon after assuming her office as information minister she had deleted the code of conduct mentioned in the PEMRA Ordinance. However, she asked journalists to devise a code of conduct for themselves.
She said the government would legislate on issues related to the media only after consulting journalists and media stakeholders since it wanted all aboard in the decision-making process.
She said the government would also abolish the Press and Publications Act so that declarations for newspapers and periodicals could easily be available.
She emphasized close relations between the government and the press and said these relations were beneficial to both. Talking about the Wage Board Award (WBA), Sherry said it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who introduced it, therefore, the government would continue the policy of its late leader. She said the government would play the role of a mediator between the government and journalists on the issue.
Sherry said she intended to establish a Victim’s Fund in the ministry, which would be utilised to financial help out the journalists who get affected while working in conflict areas.
Speaking about the previous influence of government through Press Information Department (PID) in terms of government advertisements, Sherry said the present government had practically stopped influencing media through advertisements as from now onwards PID had control of only 25 per cent of government advertisements.