Media has an important role to make people aware of their rights; DG PBC

World Press Freedom Day is being observed today with the aim to pay tribute to the journalists around the world sacrificing their lives in the line of duty. Theme of the Day for this year is 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law'.

The Day focuses on an enabling legal environment for press freedom and gives special attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and the prosecution of crimes against journalists.

Addressing a seminar in Islamabad on World Press Freedom Day, Director General Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Shafqat Jalil said media has an important role to make people aware of their rights.

He stressed the need for professional training of media persons. Shafquat Jalil said digital media should be governed at global level so that fake news is averted and correct information is disseminated.

European Union's Ambassador Jean Francois said freedom of press is key to peace, stable democracy and justice.

UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan Neil Buhne, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Johansson and a large number of journalists and members of civil society attended the event.

Talking to Radio Pakistan, Kashmir Media Forum's President Abid Khursheed said media has been suppressed in occupied Kashmir and journalists do not have access to information; resultantly, people in the occupied territory remained unaware.

BACKGROUND

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MESSAGE

In his message on the Press Freedom Day, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all. It is crucial to building transparent and democratic societies and keeping those in power accountable. It is vital for sustainable development.

He said journalists and media workers shine a light on local and global challenges and tell the stories that need to be told. Their service to the public is invaluable.

The UN chief stated that laws that protect independent journalism, freedom of expression and the right to information need to be adopted, implemented and enforced. Crimes against journalists must be prosecuted.

"On World Press Freedom Day 2018, I call on governments to strengthen press freedom, and to protect journalists. Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth", he added.

Source: Radio Pakistan