Present govt does not believe in restrictions on media freedom, controversial PMDA abolished: Marriyum

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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Wednesday that the present democratic dispensation strongly believed in freedom of expression and unlike the past four years, no news channel would be off-aired, no talk show or programme would be banned and no newspaper would be closed during its tenure. The minister was speaking in the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting meeting chaired by Senator Faisal Javed. She said that the coalition government did not believe in any restrictions on freedom of expression and after coming to power, the government abolished the controversial plan to set up the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority. The minister said that there was a need for practical steps to eradicate fake news which had become a challenge all over the world. She said that consultations were being held with all stakeholders to create a consensus on how to handle this challenge. The minister said that fake news was spread regarding Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his entourage.She said that since the past over ten years when Shehbaz Sharif was Punjab Chief Minister, he always bore the expenses of all his foreign trips. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia would also beat personal expense,and those accompanying the Prime Minister wouldalso bear their personal expenses. She said that it was a standard practice that whenever a PrimeMinister left the country, the Foreign Office wrote a letter to thePIA to keep a plane for standby. The minister said that this practice had been followed even underformer Prime Minister Imran Khan. She said she had also clarified in her press conference yesterdaythat during Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabiaeveryone accompanying him would bear their own expenses. She maintained that the number of the PM’s delegation would be muchless than all previous visits. “The Prime Minister’s delegation willconsist of only 13 members,” Maryam Aurangzeb said. During the briefing to the committee on the “Digital RadioMigration” project, she said that over time, modern technology wasindispensable in institutions. Earlier the Standing Committee congratulated Marriyum Aurangzeb onassuming the charge of Federal Minister for Information andBroadcasting.

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