ISLAMABAD, (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Friday said Pakistan wanted an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan as instability there would have direct impact on Pakistan.
“Afghanistan is a major country with 40 million population and we have concerns over human tragedy [cropping up] in Afghanistan where innocent children are being sold for food,” the minister said in an interactive session with press attachés of the various foreign countries’ embassies.
Terming a recent report on Afghanistan by an international journal The Economist ‘worrisome,’ he said some 23 million people, out of the 38 million, in Afghanistan suffered from malnutrition.
“Poverty in Afghanistan threatens to create a human tragedy. Videos are coming out form there showing that innocent children are being sold for food,” he said. It was high time for the international community to come forward to avert humanitarian crisis in the land locked country.
“We have fought a war [against terrorism] in tribal areas for a long period of time and when we launched the operation, up to 45,000 Pakistanis migrated to Afghanistan and they should be given a chance to return to their country,” he added.
Fawad also spoke about the problem of fake news and said the issue stemmed from the excessive use of technology.
In 2003, the then American President Barack Obama had said that the biggest challenge for the governments in modern era would be to organize flow of information, he noted.
The minister said all the countries around the globe were facing challenge of ‘flow of information’ and trying to tackle the issue with the help of legislation.
The United States of America, the United Kingdom and the European Union were also taking steps to curb fake news and propaganda campaigns, he added.
Fawad said Pakistan’s media was considered as one of the biggest industry among the developed countries with more than 200 television channels and over 2,000 websites and YouTube channels operating in the country.
Likewise, more than 1,500 dailies and a large number of weekly and monthly newspapers also published in the country, whereas, around 48 international news outlets were working here, he added.
He said the present government had proposed the idea of setting up the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), aimed at unifying all the media relevant laws.
Presently, there were over half a dozen ‘outdated’ laws under the existing mechanism of regulation not at par with demand of the modern times, he remarked.
He said currently, there were seven regulatory bodies to run media departments in the country. The existing laws were prepared before digital revolution and ‘We want to bring them at par with modern days’ demand’, he added.
The minister said television, newspapers and radio had become part of the mobile phone in modern times. “Today, we tweet the information coming from Whatsapp and it reaches easily to radio, TV and newspapers, he added.
India had run fake and false propaganda against Pakistan many a time, he said, adding the issue was not only of Pakistan as there were other countries facing the same problem.
He called for collective efforts at international level to eliminate the fake news. There should be regulations for media at international level, in addition to sanctions of the United Nations so that abhorrent and fabricated news against any country could not be spread, he added.
The minister said the Information ministry’s officials should remain in touch with the information related staff in the foreign embassies.
The information ministry was among the major ministries of Pakistan, he said, terming the External Publicity (EP) Wing its important department.
It was among the foremost priorities of EP wing to present the state’s point of view at foreign front and remained updated about international media, Fawad stressed.
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