PESHAWAR – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that the provincial government has done a lot to ensure better healthcare facilities to working journalists and their families.
He said for this purpose seed money out of the endowment fund had been enhanced from Rs 5 million to Rs 15 million.
Similarly, he said that the provincial government would provide Rs 10 million to Khyber Union of Journalists for the health insurance scheme of journalists each year.
This he said while chairing a meeting of the Journalist Welfare Committee at Peshawar the other day.
The meeting besides others was attended by Secretary Information Azmat Hanif Orakzai, Director Information Shuaibuddin, Assistant Director Journalistic Affairs, Zamir Gul Zahid, President Peshawar Press Club Saiful Islam Saifi and President Khyber Union of Journalists Arshad Aziz Malik. The meeting approved Rs 15,000 each for four journalists so that they could arrange their medical treatment.
Mian Iftikhar said his government, during the last four years, spent millions of rupees on the medical treatment of working journalists and their families while the owners of newspapers had also been contacted so that they could be persuaded to provide free medical facilities to their workers.
He said on reciprocation of the assurance of the owners, the provincial government would immediately withdraw 16 per cent self tax on newspapers.
He said some newspapers owners have immediately honoured their promise for which he was thankful.
He however, said those who did not honour their promises they once again contacted them for persuasion.
He hoped that they would implement the health insurance scheme for their working journalists .
The Information Minister said the steps taken by the present government for welfare of the journalists have no precedence in the past.
He furthered said that journalists welfare steps were taken in the entire province.
He said besides giving grants and constructing buildings for press clubs, media colonies have been approved for all the districts.
He said he himself visited all the press clubs to know the journalists problems and take practical steps to address them.
The minister paid tribute to journalists , who sacrificed their lives while performing duties during the war on terror. He added that the government on its part had taken all possible steps to help the families of martyred journalists .