Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Sunday lauded the “exemplary role” played by journalists during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and said that the government wants to give “good news” to the journalist community before Eid.
He made these remarks on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day during a media briefing in Islamabad.
“You [journalists] stood with Imran Khan’s struggle. How can we [the government] talk against you? How can we take any action that might harm your interests?” Faraz questioned.
The minister paid tribute to the “exemplary” role journalists have played during the coronavirus pandemic and said that the entire nation is grateful and appreciative of the work journalists are putting in.
The information minister announced that he will meet with representatives from the journalists’ community day after tomorrow.
“I will be meeting with representatives from the journalist community. And if you have fair demands, forget weeks, we will deal with them as soon as possible before Eid,” said Faraz, adding that the government wanted to give good news to journalists before Eid.
Discussing his personal background, Faraz said that he is currently in a situation that requires him to strike a balance between addressing the demands of journalists and presenting the point of view of the federal government.
“Most of you know that I belong to a family of journalists and authors. Look at my background. Can I ever go against your [journalists’] interests?” Faraz asked, adding that from the government’s point of view, journalists are playing a critical role in the “social culture” of the country.
The information minister assured the journalists of his utmost cooperation going forward and said that “his purpose for coming here today” is to understand the problems of journalists so that he could try to relate to them.
“My most important work is to work for your welfare. I will not be the judge, I will be the advocate. Whatever your demands may be, I will read them, I will understand them and I will work hard to ensure that the government isn’t giving you a strict hand,” Faraz told the journalists.
“Shibli Faraz will only succeed as information minister if I don’t let you down and you don’t let me down,” he concluded.
Earlier, the information minister said that “freedom of speech is the basic principle of any civilised society”.
In a tweet, Faraz shared his message for World Press Freedom Day by paying tribute to the journalists who made countless sacrifices for the “sanctity of the pen”.
آزادیِ اظہار مہذب جمہوری معاشرے کی اساس اور انسان کا بنیادی حق ہے۔یوم آزادی صحافت کے موقع پر قلم کی حرمت کیلئے لازوال قربانیاں دینے والے صحافیوں کو خراج تحسین پیش کرتا ہوں۔شہدائے صحافت کو سلام جنہوں نے اپنے لہو سے حُریت فکر کی شمع کو فروزاں رکھا۔
— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) May 3, 2020