KARACHI: Former information minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira has said that media’s role is important for rights of common folk, which it should play without any discrimination.

Addressing the second session on Media and National Integrity at a 3-Day National Media Conference organised by Media Department of Sindh Madressatul Islam University on Monday at a local hotel, Kaira said that besides media, politicians have also failed to unite people of the country.

“Similarly governments and institutions do not withdraw from their powers voluntarily,” Kaira held. He said that media came under criticism because of its role which it had played in the past. He said during the crises of Bengal, media of Lahore remained silent; similarly, whenever Sindh raises its voice for water, media of Islamabad remains silent.

Senator Raza Rabbani said that after death of Quaid-e-Azam, no one amongst the rulers acted upon his address of 11th August, and imposed dictatorships on the country. They also refused to give provincial autonomy and freedom of expression; instead the voice which was raised for the provincial autonomy and freedom of expression was mercilessly curbed. He said 18th amendment should not be roll backed.

Senator of ANP Afrasyab Khan Khattak said that we must talk in favour of true federalism. He said media is always focusing on the issues of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore, but it ignores the rest parts of the country.

Senator Hasil Bezinjo said there were no newspapers allowed in State of Qalat up to 1935 and who dared to brought it from Lahore, was punished. He also said that today media is free and there are no restrictions upon it from the government side, but it is being controlled by some militant groups in some parts of the country.

Former senator Taj Hyder said that journalists like Minhaj Barna, Nisar Usmani, Zamir Niazi and other such journalists had given great sacrifices for freedom of expression. Therefore, we also need such journalist today.

Earlier, Javed Jabbar, former minister for information while delivering his keynote address said that there is need of reforms and change in the media. Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor of SMIU in his welcome address said that SMI University has set great trends in a short span of time of two years.–Staff Reporter

The third session was held on Contemporary Print Media, which was chaired by a noted journalist Ms Zubaida Mustafa. Prof Dr Shahida Kazi, Shazia Shahab Shaikh, Aqsa Iram Shahzadi, Nayyara Rehman, Samreen Razi and Nosheen Hussain presented their research papers on the subject.