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Govt to further improve Freedom of Information Act: Info Secretary

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ISLAMABAD Nov 29 (APP):- Federal Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Dr Nazir Saeed on Friday said that the government is working to further improve already approved Freedom of Information Act by the Senate Standing Committee. Addressing the participants of the seminar on “Media Credibility Index” he said, “Freedom of Information Act approved by the Senate Standing Committee would be improved and finalized after the output from the all stakeholders.” He said the government believed in freedom of expression and had no intention to curb the independence of media. He said independent media is imperative for strengthening of democracy and its institutions. The secretary said PEMRA would be further empowered by approving Code of Conduct with the consultation of other stakeholders.

Dr Nazir Saeed said Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) working at the centre and provinces, headed by a retired judge, is also working to address the complaints related to media.

He said the government only can make a request to TV channels for issuing contradiction, or apology for telecasting wrong information as the government does not believe in forcing them. The secretary said the information ministry has no secret funds, however, the ministry is planning to introduce endowwent funds for journalists. Media Credibility Index (MCI), he said, its use to highlight content that can empower both the newsmakers and the information seekers; enabling them to create an effective knowledge ecosystem in the country.
MCI has the potential of becoming the source for an informed decision making tool in public policy debate, he added.
“The MCI will promote ethical content practices in the country, information that tells stories not just about the powerful, but also about the powerless, and not just about the life of the decision makers, but also about issues concerning the masses.”
“I feel proud of the fact that the Media Credibility Index has been launched in Pakistan and can be a benchmark for other countries in the world for promoting, balanced, ethical and fair journalism practices”, said Dr. Nazir Saeed.
Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) Ambassador for Pakistan, Puruesh Chaudhary said that the index has been developed after an extensive examination of media laws, ethical principals drafted by different media groups, compliance regulations formulated by regulatory bodies and journalistic organizations.

The MCI will explore the state of media in Pakistan against six indicators and 20 sub-indices.

The results are currently being published on a weekly basis on the Media Credibility Index website as well.
Senior journalist and founder, Pakistan Coalition for Ethical Journalism, Muhammad Ziauddin said that Mishal has incorporated more than thirty code of conducts, principles of ethical journalism, which include currently prevalent seven national code of conducts and 24 international code of ethics from international regulatory bodies, which have been agreed upon across the globe.
After reviewing the principles of journalism and codes of ethics for journalists; six media credibility indicators with 20 sub-indices have been developed in order to assess the media discourse and credibility of current affairs anchors in Pakistan.
Chief Executive Officer, Mishal Pakistan, Amir Jahangir said the CredibilityLab, through its activities will further strengthen the Triple Helix concept, which relies on three main ideas:
(1) a more prominent role for the University in creating new though and research processes, bringing them on par with the Industry and Government that form the basis of a Knowledge Society;

(2) a movement toward collaborative relationships among the three major institutional spheres, in which information and knowledge policy is increasingly an outcome of interaction rather than a prescription from the Government;

(3) in addition to fulfilling their traditional functions, each institutional sphere also “takes the role of the ‘other’ performing new roles as well as their traditional function.

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