The University of Okara’s Department of Communication Studies organized a webinar in connection with the World Press Freedom Day. The keynote speakers included the UO Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Muhammad Zakria Zakar, In-charge Communication Studies, Dr Zahid Bilal, eminent journalist, Wajahat Masud and Chairperson of the University of Punjab’s Department of Film Studies, Dr Lubna Zaheer.
The speakers discussed the current state of press freedom in Pakistan and argued that there could be no social and economic development in any country without its press being free from all biases and pressures.
Highlighting the role of press for social development, Dr Zakar said, “Empowerment of the society is linked with the right to freedom of expression and access to information. If we need to remove poverty and illiteracy, our press has a crucial role to play”.
Recalling the role of the Muslim press in the subcontinent, Dr Zahid told that the missionary journalism of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Moulana Muhammad Ali Johar and others enlightened and empowered the Muslims.
Commenting on the scenario of press freedom in Pakistan, Dr Lubna argued, “The situation of press freedom in Pakistan, according to the Reporters Without Borders is very precarious. This is the time we must take practical steps in this regard”.
Wajahat Masud maintained that Pakistan must learn from the past and mend the future accordingly. “We need to formulate concrete strategies to ensure the positive role of press for the betterment of the society”.