QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani on Monday said that the coalition government in the province believed in a free and responsible press and that it had never tried to gag the media or forced it to project the government.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Quetta Press Club’s (QPC) week-long Golden Jubilee celebration here, he said he and his government had taken the media’s criticism in a positive way and used it for improving performance of the government and removing mistakes identified by the media.
Despite having some complaints with the media, CM Alyani said, his government had never thought of targeting any media group and person over the past two years. He made a commitment that his government would not make any such attempt in future.
The chief minister said the Balochistan government believed that the media should inform the public about the performance of the rulers and criticise its wrong decisions. It was the right of the people to know everything about the government, he added.
Alyani stresses the need for responsible journalism
He said the provincial cabinet had approved the Right to Information Bill, 2019, for legislation. “The bill would soon be submitted in the provincial assembly for legislation,” he added. Despite all hurdles and difficulties Balochistan’s journalists had never compromised on their principles and always highlighted issues of the province and its people, he said, adding that they had always upheld true journalistic values.
“The government believes in the freedom of expression and the right to speech. We never tried to gag electronic or print media despite having some reservations about the coverage of Balochistan by national media,” CM Alyani said.
The chief minister said the provincial government had resolved the issues of the journalists’ housing society and allotted a land for them. The government would also provide financial assistance to needy journalists for construction of houses.
Funds have been released for the cafeteria of the Quetta Press Club.
Provincial Minister for Finance Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, senior journalist Anwar Sajidi, Quetta Press Club president Raza-Ur-Rehman also spoke on the occasion and paid tribute to veteran journalist and QPC former president Jawad Haider and Rashid Baig for their services for the club and welfare of the journalist community.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020