Govt working to amend media-related laws: Sherry

ISLAMABAD - Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman here on Thursday said that the government was working to amend media-related laws to ensure freedom of expression by taking all stakeholders on board.   Speaking at a Media Stakeholders Conference, she said PEMRA laws against media had already been withdrawn and more amendments were in the pipeline to ensure freedom of media. "A large number of senior journalists, representatives of civil society and office-bearers of newspaper workers' organisations attended the conference," he added. "Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and its allies are committed to bringing openness, transparency and accountability in government working," she said.  The minister said that the government always considered the working community as its strength and would take all possible steps to ensure their welfare. The minister said that now the Information Ministry would become a facilitator to the media. Sherry Rehman asked the participants of the conference to give their proposals on how to restructure the existing laws to ensure freedom of expression in the country. "The government would take all possible steps to provide safety to the working journalists, including cameramen who perform their duty under risk," she added. She said a summary for the creation of a 'Fund for Victim Journalists' had been sent to the Prime Minister and after approval it would become operational. "The fund is being created to compensate the families of those journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty," she added. She assured that all the amendments made in Press and Publication Ordinance last year at the time of imposition of emergency would be revoked. The minister said the Pakistan People's Party had always supported the cause of freedom of expression and had fought for it along with the civil society.    he representatives of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) urged the government to take steps for early constitution of 8th Wage Board Award. They also called for linking of official advertisements with implementation of Wage Board Award. Meanwhile talking to a private TV channel, Sherry Rehman said the government is looking into the matter and wanted to see more English channels going on-air in the country, especially Geo English channel. She said, the matter of new licences to private television channels was perhaps pending with the Ministry of Interior for clearance or investigation.

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