• Firdous says no State in the world can become strong without free, independent media.
  • Firdous asked media to keep national interest in mind while reporting on national issues.
  • Media Tribunals will be constituted after evolving the consensus among all the stakeholders.

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous  Ashiq Awan on Thursday said that media was the fourth pillar of the State and  its empowerment was imperative for strong democracy and good governance.

Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA), she said that Prime Minister Imran Khan not only acknowledged the  media's role as a watchdog but was determined to further strengthen this role.

Congratulating the PRA office bearers, she said that parliament was the supreme institution where all important issues related to the country were taken up and PRA was the representative body of the media, responsible for reporting the parliamentary proceedings.

No State in the world can become strong without free and independent media as  its constructive criticism gives the government guidance to improve the governance and deliver, she added.

However, she asked the media to keep national interest in mind while reporting  on issues of national interest as negative reporting could discourage the potential investors specially overseas Pakistanis who want to help the country overcome present crisis.

She said that Special Media Tribunals would be constituted after evolving the consensus among all the stakeholders. She said that the issue was discussed  in the previous Cabinet meeting regarding publication of some fake news by a  section of media and no draft had been prepared so far.

The SAPM said that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority   and Press Council of Pakistan would be restructured to meet the requirements  of the media industry.

She said that in the new legislation, interests of the media workers would be protected.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that steps were being taken to provide Insaf  Health Cards to media persons registered with all press clubs of the country,  besides they would get benefit from government housing schemes.

She said that when PTI came to power, Pakistan was facing multiple problems including serious financial and economic crisis but after one year Pakistan has changed for a better future. Industrialization was being done, hurdles in start of  new businesses have been eased and visa regime has been relaxed to boost  tourism sector, she added.

She appreciated media role for sensitizing the world community over plight  of besieged Kashmiris.