The federal government has agreed to by-default register all member publications of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) under the new Digital Media Policy. A delegation of CPNE led by its President Kazam Khan called on Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib. The delegation apprised the federal minister for information of its concerns about the new digital media policy, including fair distribution of advertisements and issues facing the regional newspapers. The delegation welcomed the government’s digital media policy, but stressed that the current member publications of CPNE should be registered by-default under the new policy. Agreeing to the CPNE demand, Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain announced to by-default register all CPNE member publications under the Digital Media Policy. The minister also announced to extend Rs 1 million loan to the CPNE member publications for transformation towards digitization. Addressing the CPNE delegation, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said after the 18th Amendment, the regional newspapers are a provincial subject. He said the money is transferred from the Federation to the provinces for onward payments to the regional newspapers. However, he admitted that the regional newspapers are not getting the required facilities. The federal minister said the regional media plays an important role in highlighting the local issues, adding that strengthening the regional press will, in fact, benefit Pakistan. With the advancement in news dissemination technology, the importance of regional media has also increased, he said, and added that the Ministry of Information Technology will assist in digitization of the newspapers. Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said when he took charge of information ministry in 2018, he started working on digitizing the advertisements in order to ensure transparency in the procedures. He said issues like delay in release orders have been resolved, adding that linking PID directly to the AGPR will facilitate payments. He said payments for advertisements have not been delayed until April 2020 and that all payments have been cleared since 2018. He said there are some issues regarding payments to the clients which will be resolved soon. Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the Press Information Department (PID) has started paperless working and soon the PID will be a paperless organization. At present, the entire advertising system is paperless and all advertisements have been digitized, he revealed. Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the role of CPNE in protecting the rights of journalists is remarkable. He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government stands with the working journalists. He said the PTI government has recently passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021, to protect the rights of working journalists. Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said the CPNE is a representative body of journalists from all over the country. He said the federal government will talk to the relevant DGPRs about implementing the 85/15 advertisement formula in provinces as well. He said the digital media policy will promote transparency in the industry. Speaking on the occasion, CPNE President Kazam Khan thanked Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib for taking concrete steps to resolve the challenges facing the media industry in Pakistan. He said the announcement of by-default registration of all member publications of CPNE under the Digital Media Policy is a highly appreciable step which will especially strengthen the regional newspapers. He said free media and right to freedom of expression are one of the basic prerequisites for transforming Pakistan into a progressive welfare state. Other members of the CPNE delegation also appreciated the ministers for listening to the problems facing the newspaper industry and assuring to resolve those at the earliest. Earlier, Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib congratulated the newly elected members of the CPNE. The CPNE delegation included President Kazam Khan, Senior Vice President Ayaz Khan, Secretary General Amir Mahmood, Deputy Secretary General Yousuf Nizami, Vice President (Islamabad) Sardar Khan Niazi, Joint Secretary (Islamabad) Shakeel Ahmed Turabi, Joint Secretary (Punjab) Tanveer Shaukat, Vice President (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Dr. Hafiz Sanaullah Khan, Joint Secretary (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Tahir Farooq, Joint Secretary (Sindh) Ghulam Nabi Khan Chandio and other members. Principal Information Officer Sohail Ali Khan was also present in the meeting.