ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will launch a health insurance scheme for journalists on Aug 7, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday.
The form for registration in the scheme is available on the websites of the Press Information Department and the Ministry of Information.
Registration of journalists would be done through a digital form to ensure transparency, Ms Aurangzeb said.
According to the minister, the government has allocated Rs 1 billion for the scheme in the federal budget. Ms Aurangzeb said the scheme would cover “all health facilities”.
“Health insurance and salaries of journalists have always been an issue,” she observed, adding that the government had recovered Rs110 million through the platform of the Independent Tribunal for Newspaper Employees and made direct payments to print media staffers.
She said the health insurance scheme was applicable to all journalists and media workers, regardless of whether an individual was a press club member or not.
Ms Aurangzeb made it clear that the PM’s Health Card scheme was different from the facility being launched next month. “These are two separate schemes.”
She further clarified that a journalist who was a beneficiary of the PM’s card scheme would not be eligible for the Journalists’ Health Insurance Scheme.
Referring to complaints about curbs on the media,
Ms Aurangzeb said the present government had taken no action against journalists who were critical of its decisions and performance.
“All stakeholders were taken into confidence for preparation of the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill and no one opposed the move.”
She added, however, that only “a certain group” was carrying out a propaganda campaign against the proposed law.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2023