Free media main pillar of Pak Govt's policy: Gilani

Lahore, Jan 17(ANI): A free and robust media is the main pillar of the Pakistan Government's media policy, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.

"Free media is a deterrent against dictatorial and authoritarian tendencies," The Nation quoted Gilani, as saying, while talking to a group of journalists at his residence in Lahore.

He called upon the media persons to lead the public opinion in a positive direction, since senior journalists were opinion makers and could feel the pulse of the masses.

The PM said the media should keep people aware of the dangers of intolerance, religious extremism and terrorism, which could harm the social as well as the political fabric of society.

The media should also highlight good works of the government to provide relief to the common man, he added.

It is noteworthy that on January 14, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had called on Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to address increasing attacks on journalists in his country.

"Pakistan's foundering security situation affects everyone in his country, but journalists' deaths are particularly egregious. Un-investigated, un-prosecuted attacks on journalists undermine the country's tradition of a free press. It is an issue that needs attention from the highest levels of the Government in Pakistan," Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Programme Coordinator had said in a statement.

A statement issued by Masood Haider, Coordinator of the New York-based Coalition of Pakistani Journalists in USA, had also called on Zardari, who was in Washington last Friday, to step up protection of working journalists in Pakistan.

"We are outraged at the unending murders of working journalists in Pakistan. The Government of President Asif Ali Zardari has utterly failed - as it has on other fronts - in its duty to protect the lives of its citizens, especially journalists. We call on him to provide protection to the journalists who are engaged in their professional work," said the statement.

According to CPJ data, Pakistan was the deadliest country in the world in 2010. At least eight journalists were killed on the job, six in suicide bombings or militant strikes, and two in targeted assassinations.

The country ranks tenth on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and killers go free. At least twelve journalist murders have gone unsolved over the past decade. (ANI)

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