Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ms Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that South Asian media fraternity should become ambassador for changing perceptions and conflict resolution in the region. Addressing the opening ceremony of South Asia Media Conference here today she said that media communication would never be result oriented if it is devoid of peoples communication. She said dialogue was key in conflict resolution and media could become a tool to create enabling Environment for that purpose. She said that media moguls having rich experience attending the conference should ponder over the issues being faced by the region and give their recommendations for their resolution. She said that the bonds which would develop among the media fraternity during this conference, if taken advantage of, then the cultural bonds, dialogue and communication and people to people contacts could reshape the media landscape in the region and help in conflict resolution in the South Asia. The minister said that media usually attached importance to political conflicts while ignoring very important issues like natural resources, water and health which required adequate focus.
Citing example of Pakistan and Bangladesh, she said that the increase in the population of these two countries would not only affect them but also the entire region as the natural resources transcended the borders. Marriyum said that unfortunately media gave lesser coverage to topics of environment, climate change, population increase, malnutrition, stunting and unemployment but when those diseases and problems resultd in mortalities, or whenever there was an emergency, the media got alerted and alarmed. She said that in the past lessons were learnt from millennium development goals in South Asia and now sustainable development goals were also a challenge and one important component of the SDGs was creation of awareness through media tools and dynamics. The minister said that Pakistan was passing through a defining moment of its history as it was completing historic ten years of uninterrupted Democratic rule which was a heartening fact. She said that and democracy had inbuilt mechanism of constant conflict resolution. She said that the media in Pakistan was highly vibrant but it was going through challenging times. The minister said that as democracy was passing through evolution, the media landscape was also evolving in the country. She said that Pakistani media was highly vibrant and a flagship law of Right to Information Act was promulgated last year to provide accesss to media and general public to public sector information and to ensure transparency in governance. She said that rise of social media was a reality and challenge and opportunity at the same time as youth bulge was depending on this medium and it was crucial to engage them positively. She said that like the west, eastern countries also faced the problem of fake news which should be at the centre stage of conflict resolution debate and the counterparts from media in South Asia should define some Parameters and agree on some principles in this regard. She said that another area that could build bridges was people to people contacts and cultural exchanges among the regional countries.
Referring to China Pakistan Economic Corridor, she said that cultural segment of the project has given value addition to the project .She said that screen tourism was another source for taking one countrys Culture to other countries and called for exchange of films, a greatest medium to promote core values of a society. She said that during past four and a half years, Pakistan had made landmark achievements in war against terrorism due to unprecedented sacrifices of the Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies and general public. Marriyum said when the present government came to power in 2013 about 2600 incidents of terrorism were registered but now over 92 per cent reduction has been recorded and only 160 incidents were reported. She said that more challenging was the war of perception and expressed the hope that the participants of the conference after watching the real Pakistan would help in dispelling negative perception in their countries about Pakistan.
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