ISLAMABAD (May 3. 2017): The World Press Freedom Day is being observed in Pakistan as elsewhere across the globe today.
The theme of this year’s day is ‘Critical minds for critical times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and participatory society’.
The Day is observed to highlight the importance of freedom of the press and fundamental principles of press.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to all “crackdowns” on journalists across the world saying a free press advances peace and justice for all.
“When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world,” he said in a video message marking the World Press Freedom Day that falls on May 3.
The UN Secretary General said journalists go to the most dangerous places to give voice to the voiceless.
In the video message, he mentioned that media workers suffer character assassination, sexual assault, detention, injuries and even death. “We need leaders to defend a free media.
This is crucial to counter prevailing misinformation. And we need everyone to stand for our right to truth,” Guterres said.
The international day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of Unesco’s General Conference in 1991.
This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb in her message said that the government was striving to strengthen freedom of expression by creating a safe and congenial environment for the media workers.
In her message she said “We join the world community in celebrating the World Press Freedom Day with an abiding commitment to uphold the freedom of Press, a commitment stemming from our national belief that a free and pluralist media was not only essential for advancement of peace and justice within the society but also for promoting Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN, which was obligatory on us as a responsible member of the comity of nations.
Today the media in Pakistan enjoys unfettered freedom of expression and the incumbent government is striving to strengthen that freedom by creating a safe and congenial atmosphere for the media workers. It is the earnest hope and effort of the government to minimize the regulatory interventions and encouraging a self-regulatory mechanism by the media so that it can perform its role as a fourth pillar of the state in a free and fair manner, with the responsibility that comes with freedom of expression and is obligatory on the journalists. In regards to creating a safe and secure environment for the journalists, the government is contemplating to introduce legislation for the welfare and protection of the Journalists.
The government will soon promulgate an improved version of the Access to Information Bill designed to improve governance. It is also engaged in a consultative process with the representative bodies of the media for the formation of a Wage Board Award for the media workers.
Tribute to martyred AbbTakk Shan Dahar