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Govt asked to legislate for protecting rights of journalists

PESHAWAR: The participants of a seminar on Wednesday asked the federal government to make legislation for freedom of press, protection of rights of journalists and financial support of the sacked media persons.

The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) organised the seminar titled “Freedom of the Press and Resolution of the Media Crisis” at the Peshawar Press Club.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Lateef Afridi, provincial Minister Shaukat Yousafzai, Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president Shahzada Zulfiqar, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) general secretary Nasir Zaidi, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) provincial senior vice president Syed Ayub Shah, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) provincial spokesman Abdul Jalil Jan, Qaumi Watan Party leader Tariq Ahmad Khan, Khyber Union of Journalists President Fida Khattak, General Secretary Muhammad Naeem, Peshawar Press Club President M Riaz, JI MPA Inayatullah Khan and Dr Zakir Shah spoke at the seminar.

Appreciating the role of the journalists for strengthening democracy, the speaker underlined the need for collective efforts by all stakeholders to ensure freedom of the press.

They asked the young professionals to follow senior journalists, who played great role for the freedom of press during eras of dictatorship.

Shaukat Yousafzai urged the media to forge unity among their ranks to raise a collective voice for the solution of their problems. He said the political parties after coming to powers never tried to solve the issues of journalists. He said his government was determined to cooperate with the media people.

Abdul Lateef Afridi said that journalists always served the people with sincerity but the politicians used to level allegations against each other. He said corruption was the root cause, which destroyed all of the institutions, saying that the media should focus on character building and reformation of the society. He said Pakistan possessed all natural resources to meet its needs but the country needed sincere leadership to utilize the resources.

Afridi said that the government should ensure protection of journalists’ rights and freedom of press.

In the prevailing critical situation wherein many journalists had lost jobs, he suggested that the government should take appropriate initiatives for financial support of the media people, particularly for the children of the deceased journalists.

Shahzada Zulfiqar and Nasir Zaidi shared data about the journalists who laid down their lives in line of duty and urged the political parties to extend moral support to the media workers. He talked about the problems being faced by the journalists who lost jobs. He said that the government should expedite work on the legislation to ensure protection to rights of journalists.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, PPP’s Syed Ayub Shah, QWP’s Tariq Ahmad Khan criticized federal government for failure to take immediate steps for reinstatement of the journalists who lost jobs in different media organizations.

They asked the government to take steps to resolve the financial issues of journalists and children of the slain media workers.

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