Islamabad, 26 April 2020 – Mudasser Chudhary:
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday said the federal and all the provincial governments were unitedly and coherently were trying to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and provide relief to the vulnerable segments of the society despite financial constraints.
Chairing the fourth provincial information ministers’ meeting through video link, she said the government’s efforts and policies were directed towards protecting the people from COVID-19 and mitigate its economic impacts.
Dr Firdous said both the federal and provincial governments realized the pain of the masses and were taking decisions keeping in view their difficulties.
She said Prime Minister Imran Khan was fully determined to take all the provincial governments along in the national war against the pandemic and it was the responsibility of the information ministers to promote the national narrative at the critical juncture.
The special assistant said on the prime minister’s directives, the health professionals, who were the first line of defence in the fight against the contagion, had been provided personal protective equipment across the country.
Similarly, on the prime minister’s directives the process of distributing personal protection equipment among the media persons had now started. In the first phase, protection kits were distributed among 50 cameramen of 25 leading channels at the Press Information Department (PID) and the process would be replicated at the provincial level under the guidance of respective provincial information ministers in coming days, she added.
Dr Firdous said the financial crisis being faced by the media industry had worsened after the outbreak of coronavirus and that was why the government on the PM’s directives had decided to include the media workers in the industrial workers ration programme.
She requested the provincial information ministers to prepare the lists of media workers whose names should be included in the ration distribution programme.
She said the Information Ministry in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) would disinfest all the major press clubs in the country so that the media parsons could perform their duties in a conducive atmosphere.
The SAPM said the government departments had been directed to clear the outstanding dues of various media houses. The Auditor General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) and PID remained busy last week to ensure payment of outstanding dues on a war footing. The local Director General Public Relations (DGPR) would ensure that the media houses should pay the outstanding dues of their employees, she added.
She said the prime minister had directed that being the front line soldiers in the war against coronavirus, the doctors and paramedical staff should be kept motivated. Their morale would be kept high by addressing their reservations, she added.
She said the opinion of medical professionals, religious scholars, political leadership and media was important for the government.