ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said that the democratic government was a staunch supporter of media freedom and had scrapped the draconian laws introduced in the past to curb the media.
He expressed these views during a presentation given to him by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the Prime Minister House here.
The briefing was attended by Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira, the Secretary Information and heads of attached departments of the ministry.
The prime minister described media freedom and democracy as inseparable and said the government would ensure press freedom and free debate.
He directed the state-owned media to give enhanced coverage to all political parties including the opposition, both in news and current affairs programs.
The prime minister appreciated the Pakistan Television (PTV) for reaching out to maximum number of people in the country as a terrestrial channel.
The premier directed to overcome shortage of DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering) vehicles on an emergency basis.
He said that in the media's competitive world, it was important to equip the state television channel with the latest technology to ensure live coverage of important events.
He hoped that it would enable the official television to focus on the issues of the people in rural areas.
The prime minister directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take immediate steps for making its media university functional to impart advanced training to working journalists.
He asked the media heads of the Information Ministry to focus on projecting achievements of the government in various fields.
Prime Minister Ashraf mentioned several steps taken by the government, including the National Finance Award, constitutional amendments, introduction of reforms in Fata, and making Pakistan a wheat exporting country, which he said would have a far-reaching impact on the federation and the national economy.
The prime minister directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to exercise its authority under law against channels engaged in airing indecent and unauthorised material.
Earlier, Qamar Zaman Kaira in his presentation said that there was a marked improvement in the current affairs and news programs of PTV. However, he said there was still an ample margin for improvement.
He said the ministry was proactively engaged to set the trend of news dissemination with responsibility.
The minister said the Press Council of Pakistan under its Chairman Shafqat Abbasi was doing a commendable job because people now had access to a forum to file their complaints against media organisations for redressal of their grievances.