ISLAMABAD - The government is committed to freedom of expression as it firmly believes that democracy and independence of media go hand in hand, Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National Heritage and Law and Justice Senator Pervaiz Rashid said on Monday.

Talking to Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean-Francois Cautain, he said that Pakistan highly values its ties with European Union and intends to enhance cooperation in various areas, mutually beneficial for both countries.

The Minister also thanked EU for granting GSP-plus status to Pakistan and hoped that European Union would continue its support in this connection, said a press release.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid said that media in Pakistan is not only independent but also highly vibrant in shaping public opinion and raising awareness among the masses about various issues.

He said that the Government of PML-N is fully cognizant of the security of media houses and journalists. It is making all possible efforts to create a congenial atmosphere where media persons could perform their professional obligations without any fear and in accordance with their professional ethos, he added.

The Information Minister also briefed the Ambassador about the measures taken by the Government to ensure the safety of journalists without obstructing their access.

Jean-Francois Cautain assured the Minister that European Union would continue to cooperate with Pakistan in areas of countering terrorism, strengthening of democracy and issues of human rights.

The Ambassador also informed that European Union is preparing report on two years GSP-plus status of Pakistan which will be shared with the Government of Pakistan and presented to EU members as well.

The Ambassador of EU also appreciated the level of independence provided to media in Pakistan.

The Minister expressed the hope that European Union and Pakistan would continue and expand their cooperation for the benefit of peoples of Pakistan and European Union.

The meeting was attended by Justice (Retd) Muhammad Raza Khan, Secretary Law & Justice, Saba Mohsin Raza, Secretary Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Shafqat Jalil, Director General, External Publicity Wing and Muhammd Arshad, Director General Human Rights, Ministry of Human Rights.