ISLAMABAD - Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Azeem Daultana on Wednesday said that the democratic government firmly believed in freedom of information and his ministry was facilitating healthy growth of media in the country. "The country is facing serious challenges in which media can play an effective role in this connection, he said while inaugurating three-day Station Directors Conference of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. Azeem Daultana lauded the services of Radio Pakistan for the cause of the country especially during periods of economic crises or threat to the security of the nation and said it had fulfilled its obligations as the national medium. He said Radio could play an important role in overcoming problems like terrorism, illiteracy and ignorance and health and sanitation. He said that Radio Pakistan could contribute towards national solidarity and cohesion by highlighting problems of the backward areas and creating awareness about significance of education and awareness about health issues. He said that there was a need to inculcate a message to the people that the militancy and extremism were damaging the country. The Parliamentary Secretary also emphasised the need to adopt measures to ensure self-sustainability of institutions like Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. He appreciated the vision of the Director-General PBC Murtaza Solangi for promoting openness and making efforts for improvement of Radio programmes. In his address of welcome, the Director General said the objective of the Station Directors Conference was to deliberate on ways and means to bring about overall improvement in programmes, revive Radio Pakistan's past glory, maintain its credibility and boost sales and marketing. "The credit goes to the democratic government of Pakistan during which such a consultative exercise was taking place after about six years," DG observed. He said that the conference also aimed at brain-storming on themes to help counter extremism, promote local languages and culture, turn stations into community broadcasting units and ensure recruitment of professionally competent people purely on the basis of merit. The Director General said that there was need to improve contents of the National Broadcasting Service by ensuring widest possible participation of the listeners in its programmes through phone and SMS. He hoped that the participants would give input for technological improvements as well.