Censoring media not in national interest, says PM Abbasi

  • Abbasi says it is responsibility of media to project govt’s achievements and criticise its failures

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that the social media has rendered censorship in the media redundant and urged the media organisations to ensure responsible reporting by exercising due diligence in verifying facts.

Addressing an awards ceremony at All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) in Islamabad, the prime minister said the social media has transformed the media landscape by making all information available to anyone.

“Media censorship may render short-term advantages but it is never in national interests, especially in the modern age,” he said.

“However, media persons need to check facts to ensure objectivity in media reporting,” the premier asserted.

Highlighting the government’s resolve to uphold freedom of the media, the PM said, “The present government resolved to safeguard freedom of expression [and media] from day one. But it is your responsibility to ensure objective reporting.”

“It is healthy to criticise but equally important to highlight the positives,” he added.

Calling for a self-regulating mechanism to ensure responsible and objective media reporting, the PM emphasised the importance of fact-based reporting to the country’s progress.

“The media needs reforms today more than it did ever before,” he said.

He said in the past, the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) secret funds of billions of rupees were spent annually, but the present government has not spent even a rupee from the secret fund for any purpose. He added that criticism apart, it is also a responsibility of the media to project achievements of the government and measures aimed at the welfare of the masses.

He said that such policies and steps should also get projection through positive and objective news reports besides advertisements.

PM Abbasi further said that Pakistan was perhaps the only country in the world where ministers work during the day and defend their actions during talk shows in the evening. He desired formation of a committee to analyze media-related issues and come out with recommendations for reforms in media.

The prime minister said that free and fair media is as important as free and fair elections, adding that the government is leaving Pakistan in a much better condition in every respect as compared to what it inherited in 2013.

The PM said that despite constitutional and other challenges and hurdles, the journey of progress continued. He referred to completion of Lowari tunnel by the present government at a cost of Rs28 billion despite the fact that the project was initiated by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto forty years ago.