AHMEDPUR EAST-Federal Minister for Education Balighur Rehman has said that the PML-N government believes in the freedom of press and speech.

"The government took necessary measures for the protection of journalists when I was State Minister for Interior, we have taken all the stakeholders on board but the media houses did not fulfil their responsibilities. He was addressing a certificates awarding ceremony of a two-day Safety of Journalists Training Workshop organised by Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) in collaboration with Doha Centre For Media Freedom (DCMF).

The federal minister said that protection of journalists was not the sole responsibility of the govt; the media houses should also come forward and fulfill their responsibilities. If the government is a signatory in UN regarding protection of journalists, we will surely implement the UN agenda in its true letter and spirit.

He asked RMNP President Ehsan Ahmed Sehar to brief him about the hurdles in connection with safety of journalists. He said he would talk to State Minister for Information Mariyam Aurangzeb. Engineer Balighur Rehman hoped that beneficiaries of the safety training would perform their journalistic duties in safe environment.

He lauded the efforts of both the RMNP and DCMF for organising a series of safety of journalists' trainings in Southern Punjab.

Chairman Municipal Committee Malik Usman Rasheed Bobak, Vice Chairman Mian Muzzamil Nadeem, PML-N leader Qazi Burhan Farid, Karachi-based trainers Khalid Saeed, Professor Shehzad Ahmed Khan, Deputy Director Information Bahawalpur Nasir Hameed, District Information Officer Nauman Masood Khan and other notables, and a large number of journalists were also present.

Earlier, RMNP President Ehsan Ahmed Sehar exhorted upon the political and religious parties and groups to formulate "code of ethics" for ensuring security and safety of the media-persons while performing their professional assignments in the country and abroad.

Expressing his grave concern over the rampant trend of intolerance and attack on media-persons by various groups and political parties, he said it was the duty of the organisers of functions or protest rallies and marches to ensure security of the media persons.

He said that it was universal practice that journalists were being facilitated in discharge of their professional duties, but it was very unfortunate that instead of providing them with assistance they were targeted, assaulted and tortured.

The uncalled for practice is very dangerous and indicates menace of incidents of scuffle the media persons, he said. He added that to arrest such condemnable act the political parties ponder and seriously provide them with training of public meetings and demonstrations.

The organisations concerned should also have full awareness of providing conducive environment for the coverage and safety of the journalists.

The complex of the reporting with the advent of the electronic media and new emerging trend for the coverage has altogether been changed and there was need that all the stakeholders who frequently interact with the journalists - hold demonstrations, meetings, protest, and other activities formulate SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the journalists keeping in view their security and coverage without any interruption, he said. Later, the Balighur Rehman gave away certificates to 17 participants of the training.