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ISLAMABAD: The government believed in freedom of expression and would continue to facilitate the growth of a free and responsible media, Information Minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain told a delegation of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society on Friday.

“An independent media is essential for strengthening democracy and for nurturing democratic values and norms in society,” the minister said.

Speaking about the government’s proposal regarding formation of an umbrella regulatory authority for the entire media, the minister assured the delegation that no law would be introduced without consulting representatives of the media houses.

He said the proposal was aimed at facilitating the media by merging different regulatory authorities to ensure one-window operation, particularly for those who had to knock at more than one door for redress of their complaints.

About the new government’s policy on release of advertisements, he said “we will ensure transparency and fairness in distribution of advertisements”.

He accused the previous government of using advertisements for “self-projection and promotion of personal interests”.

He urged the APNS to present proposals for bringing about transparency in the release of government advertisements.

The delegation raised various issues with the minister, including payment of outstanding dues. Fawad Chaudhary assured the APNS of his cooperation for the resolution of all issues.

Principal Information Officer Shafqat Jalil and Tahir Khushnood, the director general of the Internal Publicity Wing, were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018