Media community: National Assembly body for setting up police hotlines

April 04, 2014

Bussiness Recorder

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Thursday directed the federal and provincial police to set up special hotlines to address complaints of media community. The committee recommended that any issues related to the security of media be handled on top priority basis, so that they can function without fear and deliver at the highest levels of media freedom as well as quality to the people of Pakistan.

Expressing displeasure on the absence of Inspector Generals of Police from Punjab and Sindh from the meeting, the committee issued directives to Punjab Police to file a report on the progress made so far in anchor person Raza Rumi attack case. 

The committee which met with Marvi Memon in the chair discussed security plan and policy for protection of media persons. During the course of meeting, the committee unanimously submitted the recommendations to Speaker National Assembly. “We condemn the attack on Raza Rumi and those present with him at the time, and on all the media personnel attacked by the terrorists. We stand united against terrorists. We take strict notice on why Punjab police despite notification was not present to give the update on these cases and a notice will be sent to them on the same issue. IG Punjab must give a mid status if not a full investigation report confidentially to the Standing committee within 24 hours”, the committee said.

The committee recommended that security of media in Pakistan is the responsibility of the state, the Executive branch and Parliament and any issues related to the security of media are handled on top priority, so that they can function without fear, delivering highest levels of media freedom and quality journalism to the people of Pakistan.

All lists of targeted media personnel needs to be taken seriously by the Executive branch because now we have seen action by terrorists on these lists as well as the fact that we have recorded threats to some of those on this list by the terrorists’ outfits, the committee maintained.

The committee further recommended that all IGs must immediately inform standing committee about the hotlines established for media personnel in case of emergencies, bullet proof vests must be provided to all journalists in the line of duty, special arrangements at all media houses must be made by government to ensure top level security and scanners must be installed at all media houses.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid informed the committee that his ministry would fulfil its commitment with the media community for establishment of a dedicated hotline for media persons. He said that special prosecutors would be appointed to speed up the prosecution process of the cases related to attacks on the media persons. He said that the government was investigating the so-called hit lists of the journalists prepared by the terrorists.

Pervaiz Rashid appealed the entire society to join hands against the forces of evil who want to impose their will on the entire society. The minister said that it was a war and we as a nation would have to fight this collectively. Raza Rumi who attended the meeting through skype, said that terrorists have prepared hit lists of media persons and there was need of investigation into it. He said that apparently there was no progress in terrorist attack on him.

Secretary Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Dr Nazir Saeed said that his ministry was co-ordinating with provinces for establishment of the dedicated hotlines for media. He said that life insurance scheme for working journalists was being introduced. The committee appreciated the commitment of the federal minister to provide dedicated hotlines for media persons.

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