ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said his government had given unprecedented independence to the media, but it had problems with fake news propaganda as during the last three years 70 per cent news content was against the government.

Separately, the prime minister and senior civilian and military leaders received an intelligence briefing on the evolving situation in neighboring Afghanistan and its possible implications for Pakistan’s international security.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the Digital Media Development Programme in Islamabad, the prime minister said that the government had given complete independence to the media but it had been facing problems with fake news propaganda.

Civil, military leaders receive intelligence briefing on Afghan situation

He said that his government was not affected by free judiciary and free media because the government was not corrupt and was not breaking laws, adding that his government was the first to give complete independence to the media. He, however, said that during his three-year tenure, 70pc media content was against the government.

He said that media independence could be gauged from the fact that how many news programmes were pro-government and how many anti-government during the last three years.

He said that when the PTI’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister was elected, three major newspapers claimed that the AJK PM was nominated because of magic, asking what impact it cast on the foreigners who had read such propaganda that PM Imran Khan had taken the help of an astrological chart for nominating the AJK premier. He said that if such stories were published elsewhere, he could have gotten millions of rupees in damages, which he would have spent on charity work.

The government has launched the Digital Media Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme. According to the information ministry, the initiative will focus on development and growth of the digital media ecosystem.

Intelligence briefing

Senior civilian and military leaders received an intelligence briefing on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and its possible implications for Pakistan’s internal security.

The leaders were also briefed on the developments in Indian occupied Kashmir, especially the deteriorating human rights situation there.

The briefing session was attended by Prime Minister Khan, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, the federal ministers for defence, interior, religious affairs, human rights and information and the chief ministers of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. All three services chiefs also attended the meeting. Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was also present.

“A comprehensive briefing was given to the national and military leadership on the national security and regional dynamics with focus on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan,” a statement issued by the PM Office said.

The participation of the chief ministers of KP and Balochistan was a clear indication that the thrust of the meeting was on the potential fallout of the situation in Afghanistan on internal security of Pakistan, particularly the bordering regions that have already experienced an uptick in militant violence over the past month.

Baqir Sajjad Syed also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

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