Islamabad - Minister of State for Interior and Narcotics Control Baleegh-ur-Rahman Wednesday informed that the government has designed an android application with the cooperation of police that allows the journalists to click a virtual panic button in case of an imminent threat to send alerts to the Rapid Response Force and nearest police station.

“Soon the much awaited Cyber Crime Law bill would be passed by the parliament to counter online threats, as bill has been sent to National Assembly Secretariat,” said the minister of state for interior addressing the 2nd International Safety of Journalists conference organised by CPDI, here at a local hotel.

The minister said that country is in middle of Zarb-e-Azab operation against terrorists and soon peace would successfully prevail in the region. He said that the cruel Peshawar attack has brought whole the nation together. “The National Action Plan was designed after the incident and being implemented throughout the country,” he said and added that the passage of the 21st Amendment to form military courts in the country was also part to implement NAP in the country.

Media Liaison Committee on National Action Plan (NAP) has also started working and it has the representation of all stakeholders including media people, ministry of information and broadcasting and ministry of interior. “Peshawar attack was not only against our children, but actually it was an attack on our future,” he added.

About journalists working in conflict areas, he said that incumbent government is taking all measures to address issue related to media persons. “A media cell in the interior ministry has been constituted in this regard to look into media related complaints on priority basis,” he said adding that journalists in Pakistan have to face extraordinary threats while covering conflict areas and are more vulnerable to danger. “Due to the nature of their work, the journalists need special protection,” he added.

He said that the suggestions proposed by the conference would minutely be looked into and the government would try its best to incorporate them into legislation.

“After this Peshawar incident, all stakeholders came together and national plan of action was devised,” he said adding that extreme conditions are taking place in the country so journalists are exposed to more threats.

“Special requirements are required for their protection and we will take measures to address this issue as media cell in interior ministry has also been formed,” he said.

He further said that the government has decided to conduct security audit in Islamabad and prepare SOP for security of journalists. He further said 1717 helpline is made functional and getting very good response. The SOPs would be prepared for journalists working in the conflict zones, he added. The responsibilities have to be shared by both government and the media houses, such as trainings and equipping them with safety gadgets.

He said these suggestions would minutely look into these suggestions and will try its best to incorporate into the legislation. He also expressed commitment for the cause of journalist safety and said that the ministry of interior is working closely with ministry of information and broadcasting to devise protection mechanisms for journalists in Pakistan.

Earlier, the notable media persons in their recommendations stressed upon the need to make Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, PEMRA an independent body and ensure that the members are elected, not chosen by the government officials. The recommendations also endorsed the idea of linking security audits with renewing channels’ licences under PEMRA.

Women are discontinuing because of side-effects even in semi-urban and urban areas, where presumably there is relatively better access to healthcare providers, it highlights. “Side-effects are experienced more for injectable and IUCDs. Apart from the actual side effects, fear of side-effects and the personal, social and economic costs of living with side-effects also force women to discontinue contraceptive use.”