- Firdous Ashiq Awan says media should act responsibly and it should uphold the national security and state interests.
- Firdous says government considers the media as the fourth pillar of state.
- Firdous says constitution guaranteed the right of freedom of expression and speech, and the media could point out whenever the same was curtailed.
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Thursday said the media should act responsibly and it should uphold the national security and state interests while creating a narrative and criticizing the government's performance .
Speaking at the National Media Conference on “Media as Soft Power in the 21st Century" here at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), she said, “We have to define the interests of the state and the government."
She said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan considered the media as the fourth pillar of state. It was the right of media to criticize the government and bring forth its shortcomings, but it should not undermine the national cause, she explained.
The special assistant said the fourth pillar of state had to analyze and evaluate the performance of government, and guide it whenever there was any constitutional violation, misuse of authority and abuse of power.
The Constitution, she said, guaranteed the right of freedom of expression and speech, and the media could point out whenever the same was curtailed.
Dr Firdous urged the media to act responsibly. When more than 70 television channels would show chaos, uncertainty and unrest from dawn tom dusk it would send a negative message to the world. The people abroad wanted to know about the “Naya Pakistan" which was enlightened, moderate and progressive, she added.
She said disinformation and fake news hurt the national interests.
The special assistant said the youth, who had immense potential, were the real assets of Pakistan and future leaders and would be trained and facilitated to overcome national challenges.
Dr Firdous said one of the biggest challenges of present era was the fifth generation hybrid warfare. The role of media as a soft power was vital in the international affairs and diplomacy, and now the social media had become its important component and could be effectively used to keep the world informed about the viewpoint and achievements of Pakistan, she added.
She said the soft power of media had assumed a new significance as even superpowers despite their strong economies and having the latest technology could not sustain their status without its effective use.
She assured the youth that the government would create opportunities and work to build their capacity so that their potential could be utilized for the country's development, and to safeguard national security and sovereignty.
She announced that the government would establish a state of the art media university to equip the youth with the latest methods and means of communication.
She said the speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan at the United Nations had a profound impact at the international level. He used the platform to project the viewpoint of Pakistan, highlight human right violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and dispel false impressions about Islam, she added.
The prime minister in his 47-minute speech, she said, brought attention of the world to the festering Kashmir issue and shook the world's conscience. Imran Khan told the world that the mainstay of Islam was to preserve the human rights.
She said Pakistanis were a resilient nation, which bravely fought against terrorism and achieved peace after rendering huge sacrifices.
She said the people were aware that in the new and changed Pakistan there would be rule of law and nobody would attempt to undermine the institutions as was happening in the past.
She said in the past, institutions were weakened and rule of law was violated at the cost of personal interest. Today there was no sacred cow and nobody was allowed to indulge in attacking the institutions, she added.
She appreciated the youth for steadfastly backing the narrative of Pakistan.
Dr Firdous said Pakistan would continue to tell the world as to how India was trampling on the international law, violating the United Nations resolutions and norms of humanity, and committing atrocities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
India, she said, had deployed 900,000 troops and was carrying out genocide, dishonoring women and making Kashmiris blind by using pellet guns in the besieged held Kashmir.
No international observers were allowed to visit the valley, she added.
She said if at present Kashmiris could not communicate what India was doing in the held Kashmir due to curfew imposed for more than two months, then Pakistanis would be their voice.
“Pakistanis feel the pain of Kashmiris and will continue to stand with them and keep on informing the world about their miserable plight."
NUML Rector Major General Muhammad Jaffar and heads of faculty of media studies from different universities also spoke on the occasion about the growing influence of media on society and the world at large.