Lahore: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Friday said the role of media was imperative to fight the terrorist mindset.”The government and its institutions can only fight with the individuals, groups or networks, but it needs the media’s support to defeat the terrorist mindset,” Kaira said while addressing the closing ceremony of a training for radio broadcasters and presenters on peace building.
The four-day training was organized by Intermedia Pakistan, Danish International Development Agency, Aks and Search for Common Grounds Pakistan, which was attended by 26 broadcasters from private FM and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation radio stations in 25
districts of the country.
He said that media had played a great role in the fight against extremism and had sacrificed a lot in the form of losses of lives, properties and jobs or even in some cases the media persons
had to migrate from their ancestral areas for the safety of their lives.
The Information Minister said that the government on its part had taken all possible steps to help the families of martyred journalists, who had sacrificed their lives while performing their duties during the war on terror.He said radio had played an important role during the operation in Swat, Waziristan and FATA areas as it reached every locality without electricity or other bindings.He said the radio presenters and broadcasters should form public opinion persuading them to accept terror war as Pakistan’s own war and guide the people as this menace could not be eliminated until this mindset was defeated.He said the extremist mindset was promoted by the foreign powers to fight against the USSR but after achieving the goal, those forces left the region leaving the nurseries here to promote the mentality.”Later, those extremist forces struck Pakistan as well as the whole world,” Kaira said and added that Pakistan had already been struggling to root out this menace.He said the Pakistani society was tolerant and peaceful until some international developments took place in the region turning it into an extremist one.
Kaira assured the radio broadcasters and presenters of all-out support to help resolve their issues.He said that the repetitive coverage of isolated incidents of violence was counter-productive and gave undue advantage to those elements seeking to harm the society.He said reporting of crises, emergencies and violence should be balanced and based on evidence and added that the disproportionate coverage of violence created unnecessary public confusion.
The Information Minister said that media persons could not be considered as independent if they were working a gun to their heads.
He said media in Pakistan was enjoying unprecedented freedom, while the government was committed to ensure more freedom for media and protection of journalists’ rights.He said to counter the militants’ propaganda and to foster peaceful co-existence and tolerance, there was a dire need to leverage the ever growing power of radio in Pakistan.
Kaira said the training provided to broadcasters in this workshop would enhance their capacity in radio for peace building. It will enable them to cater to the needs of their audiences in a
more constructive manner, he added.