ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Maryyam Aurangzeb has said that protection of working journalists is responsibility of the government and no discrimination would be made in this regard.

She said this while chairing an important meeting held in connection with the “Journalists Protection and Safety Bill” at  NPC.

She said that wage board cannot be ignored and its enforcement would be ensured with the assistance of National Press Club (NPC).

She said that  now cameramen have been included in the criteria of journalists.
“A council would be formed for the resolution of problems faced by the journalist community of the country”, she added.

The minister said that deadline of the Journalists Protection Bill was February but it was extended and the recommendations approved in this meeting would be made the part of new bill.

Senior anchorperson Hamid Mir said that a committee was constituted in the past regime headed by members of opposition. The said committee under the chairmanship of Prof Ahsan Iqbal had evolved a draft within the period of two years and its report was presented in March 2013 and Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has directed to edit a new report in the light of previous report.

He demanded that numbers of journalists should be enhanced in the existing committee as it consists of 10 members. Out of which, 4 are journalists while remaining are government beneficiaries.

President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Muhammad Afzal Butt said that implementation on Journalists Protection Bill should be ensured and strict measures should be taken in this regard.

“The issue of salaries of journalists is of great significance and their timely payment be ensured while implementing on wage award board”, he added.

 Nasir Malik, Secretary General PFUJ demanded that implementation on wage award board be implemented adding that endowment funds for the journalists is a good initiative taken by the incumbent government.

“The martyred journalists should be accommodated in new housing schemes of the government”, he demanded.

The meeting was attended by owners of media houses, President NPC, President PFUJ and senior anchor person Hamid Mir.