PTI gov’t determined to protect journalists’ rights: Farrukh

He said the government had passed media protection bill with the cooperation of the journalist bodies

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LAHORE: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Saturday said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was determined to protect the rights of journalists and multiple steps were being taken for their welfare.

He was addressing a ceremony held for members of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists at the Governor’s House here. President Lahore Press Club Azam Chaudhry and a number of journalists were also present.

Farrukh Habib said that the government believed in press freedom and added that the media had always played a vital role in ensuring the rule of law in the country. However, he said the media should realise the difference between facts and fake news and should avoid spreading misinformation.

He said the government had passed media protection bill with the cooperation of the journalist bodies, as it would ensure provision of conducive working environment to the media professionals.

Farrukh Habib said that journalist community was being made part of many other government initiatives including Health Card, Kamyab Jawan Programme, low-cost housing schemes and soft loans for construction of houses for journalists.

He said the Health Card had been awarded to journalists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) as whole of the province had been provided the facility. He said that the Health Card was now being provided to the people of Punjab province and most of the divisions had been given the facility.

Before the Health Card initiative, he added, people had to face hardships to get medical treatment for their loved ones; however, now people could get treatment from the place of their choice (public or private) through the facility. He said that medical treatment amounting to one million rupees was allowed to each family every year.

He termed the Health Card a welfare project in true sense and not a political tool as the PTI government, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was taking practical steps to solve the public problems.

He said the so-called political leaders sitting abroad had to be answerable for the misdeeds committed during their tenures in government. He said that billions of rupees were transferred through the accounts of Sharif family employees in Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

The minister of state said that the recent meeting between Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari was aimed to protect their personal interests only. He urged the Sindh government to utilise some of the money got through National Finance Commission on the poor people of the province rather than pocketing it through kickbacks.

To a question, he said that the so-called PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] alliance of the opposition had taken so many decisions so far, but they could not implement them due to differences in their ranks.

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