ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Saturday said that lockdown has affected exports and cash inflows have suspended and the country is facing economic challenges. She said that the Centre and the federating units had to keep masses abreast of the negative impact of the coronavirus on the economy in addition to protecting public from the virus. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan 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.
She said this during the fourth meeting of the provincial information ministers and spokespersons in the backdrop of the virus through video link to thrashing out the related media strategy in the evolving situation. The forum was attended by Sindh minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Ajmal Wazir of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Liaquat Shahwani from Balochistan and Fayyazul Hasan Chohan.
“The corona challenge is before the government and I am not talking about one government. It is about the federal government, the provinces, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. There is a dire need to promote this feeling among people repeatedly at this critical time that they are sure that they are the focus of our every step, decision and policy,” she emphasized.
Dr Firdous said that things were to be pushed forward with mutual consultation and consensus. “Our discourse should be only in the interest of masses. We have to maintain the air of solidarity and coherence and in this context, information ministers are needed to be more careful.” She contended that the federal and provincial governments felt the pain of the masses and decisions were being taken keeping in view their difficulties with mutual consultation.
Dr Firdous maintained that on the directions of the prime minister, the health professionals, who are the first line of defence in the fight against the virus had been provided with the personal protective equipment across the country.
The doctors and other health practitioners, she noted, were of utmost respect and that their concerns should be given due consideration and they must not be hurt.
She said that the provincial information ministers would distribute safety kits among media persons and said that they should provide their lists for ensuring safeguard of their rights. She added the distribution of kits among cameramen and video journalists was started today and in next phase, more kits would be given away to media persons.
Dr Firdous noted that a media workers ration initiative had also been launched and added the relief being extended to the industrial workers would also be provided to the media workers. She emphasised that the provincial governments should prepare the lists of media persons in order to ensure their protection.
A campaign, she said, was also being started with the cooperation of the provincial governments to disinfect the press clubs across the country. On this occasion, she again asked the provincial governments to clear the outstanding advertisement dues of the media houses. She, however, reiterated the payment should be linked with that of the payment of salaries of journalists.