- Says media in Pakistan enjoys 'unprecedented freedom under PTI' while addressing launch ceremony of the Digital Media Development Programme in Islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that the media in Pakistan enjoys "unprecedented freedom under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)", adding that the government only had a problem with fake news and propaganda.
Addressing the launch ceremony of the Digital Media Development Programme in Islamabad, the premier said 70 percent of the news content published during the PTI government's tenure so far has been "against us".
In a tweet, the Digital Media Wing (DMW) Pakistan described the Digital Media Development Programme as a flagship initiative in line with Khan's vision.
According to the DMW, the initiative will focus on the development and growth of the digital media ecosystem of Pakistan.
“I challenge -- no government in history allowed media to act so freely. I guarantee, almost 70% of total TV programs during the last three years were against the government. I guarantee, 70% news items with angling were against us,” Khan said.
"There has never been the kind of slander against ministers and the prime minister even in the biggest democracies as has been done here. When our Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister was elected, three major newspapers claimed he (AJK PM) was nominated because of magic.
"What can be bigger slander than this?" he asked.
I challenge -- no government in the history allowed media to act so freely. I guarantee, almost 70% of total TV programs during the last three years were against the government. I guarantee, 70% news items with angling were against us: PM Imran Khan
Talking about unwarranted criticism of the newly-elected AJK PM, he said three major newspapers of Pakistan, in their headlines, had alleged that the nomination of Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s prime minister was "made on the basis of some sort of astrological table."
“Just imagine what could be a slander bigger than that? I would have gotten damages in millions had this happened in England, which I would have given to my charity,” he remarked.
Khan told the audience that his government was not using state media to its advantage, like the previous rulers, who "would use it to divert attention from their corruption".
The prime minister said free media or free judiciary should not be a matter of concern for the government, if it was not involved in corruption or violation of rules.
It was the dictators or the corrupt governments that controlled media and judiciary for their protection, he added.
He asked the participants to promote the vision of transforming Pakistan into an ideal Islamic state.
Citing the example of the universal health coverage program being offered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the premier said that there is a concern for humanity in an Islamic state.
"Even developed countries do not have universal health coverage. We have started on the journey to making Pakistan a welfare state in which we want to lift the poor," he said.
Khan said that a country that did not have a rule of law could not succeed.
"No cousin or friend of Imran Khan is [appointed] on a high post. There is merit in Pakistan and you will see its effect slowly," he said.
"We will not become a great nation until we have these three things: self-respect, concern for humanity, and rule of law," he emphasised.