Access to information vital for smooth govt, media relations: former information secretary


ISLAMABAD: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Department of Mass Communication held a media seminar on Wednesday, where Syed Anwar Mahmood, a seasoned government official of the information ministry, said that free flow of information as well as access to information is imperative to ensure a smooth relationship between the government and the press.

Mahmood, who performed his duties as a top media manager for about four decades in different official capacities, said this in the capacity of a key-note speaker at the seminar, which was presided over by AIOU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Shahid Siddiqui. The participants were also addressed by eminent anchorperson Rauf Klasra.

On the occasion, the former press secretary said regarding the role of the Information ministry, where he served as federal secretary and principal information officer, that the ministry should act as a bridge between the government and the media to educate and inform the people about the working of various state institutions.

The seasoned government official shared with the participants his first-hand accounts and experience gained from developing good working relations between the government and the press during the tenure of different national governments.

Mahmood also talked extensively about the topic of journalism and governance, and said that pressure tactics applied by the government against the media in the past had never been useful or result-oriented, as such moves had always brought a bad name to the government and damaged issues of national interests beyond repair.

Furthermore, the former press secretary also said that it had always been his passion to serve the media industry, and upholding its dignity and independence, while adding that it was a moment of extreme pride for him when he was serving as information secretary in Pervaiz Musharraf’s government and the media expansion of 2002 was kickstarted in the country.

Addressing the participants, Dr Siddique said that the media had emerged as the most powerful social institution in the recent years and had brought about a transformation of the society. He also highlighted the AIOU’s achievements in developing the university as the country’s role-model learning institution and a hub of literary and cultural activities.

It merits mention here that the seminar was part of a series of activities, undertaken by the university, to highlight the importance of media in educating the people regarding socio-economic problems of the society and finding suitable solutions for these.