April 12, 2017
ISLAMABAD - The government has initiated a number of measures for the welfare of journalists including life insurance policy and a draft law for the protection of media persons, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb informed the Senate on Tuesday.
During the question hour, the minister recounted a long list of measures and proposals in reply to a question by Senator Nehal Hashmi, who wanted to know the steps taken by the government for welfare and protection of journalists.
She said under the life insurance policy all the employers of the newspaper industry have been asked to get mandatory post-retirement pension benefit scheme for their employees from Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI). This scheme will ensure payment of monthly pension to newspaper employees after their retirement, she added.
The minister said the information ministry is pursuing the proposal for setting up an Endowment Fund to provide relief to journalists who have fallen victim to terrorism in the line of duty.
The Journalists Welfare and Protection Bill 2017, according to the minister, has been sent to chairman Senate and speaker National Assembly along with the chairpersons of the Standing Committees on Information and Broadcasting in both the houses for external sharing. The draft bill has also been sent to Zafarullah Khan, who heads Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services. Khan is a former journalist with extensive experience in the development sector.
The minister also mentioned the establishment of Media Security Committee in 2015 which works under the minister for information and broadcasting. “Panic Alert Button System has been installed in all media outlets in Islamabad to give an alert message to police at different police stations in the hour of need.”
Further, she said a hotline number (111-925-225) has been installed in the Press Information Department for journalists to inform about any potential threat or security-related issues.
Recently she said her ministry has sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior for “security measures for the protection of media houses…”
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A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.