Fawad announces easy loans for journalists

LAHORE: Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday announced easy loans of Rs 1-3 million for journalists under Pakistan’s successful scheme.

He announced this during his meeting with elected leaders of Lahore Press Club, Punjab Union of Journalists and Punjab Assembly Press Gallery here. He also announced the construction of five marla apartments on two thousand land canals and said journalists could get the advertised loans upon confirmation from Lahore Press Club, Karachi Press Club, National Press Club Islamabad, Peshawar Press Club and of the Quetta Press Club. Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari, Senior Vice President Javed Farooqi, Secretary Zahid Chaudhry, Federal Co-Secretary for Information and Broadcasting in a meeting with Federal Union Treasurer Khawaja Naseer journalists from Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Mehto, Chairman of the Punjab Journalists Union Qamar Zaman Bhatti, General Secretary Khawaja Aftab Hassan, Chairman of the Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Afzal Talib and Secretary Abbas Naqvi and expressed their reservations about the proposed Media Authority of Pakistan Bill.

Fawad said the government believed in the creation of independent and responsible media and the welfare of journalists and would take practical steps to that end.

The federal minister further said that journalists across Pakistan will not compromise on press freedom and freedom of expression.

Journalists’ leaders said they would not compromise on freedom of expression and spoke out against harsh penalties for journalists and other issues with the bill.

They also demanded to include the electronic media in the Newspaper Employees Employment Act 1973 and to link the implementation of the allocation of journalists’ wages and salaries to the publication of government advertising.

They also demanded the enactment of new laws to put an end to fake news spreading on social media. They said this should be done in consultation with journalists’ organizations.

They indicated that the final opinion on this bill will be given after the FEC of the PFUJ. They further stated that the journalist community and its leaders would not compromise on the rights of journalists and media professionals.

The delegation made it clear to the Federal Minister that the government should consult with the elected leaders of journalists on the draft Media Authority of Pakistan Bill and that the management of the media should refrain from obstructing the functioning of journalists’ unions in their respective organisations.

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