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An Exclusive Interview with Imran Atta Soomro - Secretary, Information & Archives Department

Imran Atta Soomro – Secretary, Information & Archives Department Speaks to Team Brands Magazine regarding the emerging media & advertising

“MEDIA IS GETTING MATURED DAY BY DAY, THE SITUATION IS NOT HOW IT WAS FIVE TO TEN YEARS AGO, IN FACT IT WILL EMERGE TO BE MORE POSITIVE AND EFFECTIVE IN YEARS TO COME.”

The rapid development of information technology has given birth to a new era of mass media, making it the fourth pillar of a state. The Information department mirrors any government body and it’s never easy to find a suitable person to head this department; it’s very difficult to steer this department as it requires tireless efforts, sophistication, articulation, professionalism, passion, commitment and expertise in the field. The Secretary Information Sindh Mr. Imran Atta Soomro, equipped with the requisite qualities, is one of the key members of Chief Minister Sindh’s team who has been chosen to carry the burden of this immense responsibility, and takes much pride in carrying it out.

Meeting Mr. Imran Atta Soomro, we not only touched upon the changing landscape of media but the positive and proactive policies of the Government of Sindh as well. The Secretary Information not only seemed different from common perceptions and attitude of a Bureaucrat, but outspoken, logical, realistic, having firm grip on issues and resolute to take challenges head on.

We asked his view on electrifying speed of media growth, how it related with maturity of collective consciousness and how effective is the role of contemporary Media in Pakistan? The enlightening response from Secretary Information Sindh Mr. Imran Atta Soomro revealed his in-depth knowledge on the subject, claiming that today’s Media is very different from that of fifteen years ago.

The Information Department not only propagates government policies and performances, but keeps the system abreast of effects and public reaction. The core function of the Information Department is to provide uninterrupted and authentic information about the Sindh government, its various ministries and departments to the people and media houses. It is indeed a revolution, a digital satellite revolution that has changed the perspective of living inside out.  Expressing his views on the Media Industry in Pakistan, Secretary Information said that any country which is developing offers great opportunities for growth in all walks of life, and media is no exception. He said that if any industry has shown incredible growth rate in Pakistan in the past decade, it has been the Media industry. Today Media is by far more free and effective; in fact the advent of Social Media has made it possible to reach each and every household, which has made access to information convenient and exhilarating, while enactment of laws on right to information has made it legal and easier to access information, enabling Media to play an effective role against corruption. Thus, we ought to support this increasing role of Media, but only through a balanced policy. However, we are still attaining maturity with regards to the use of the medium, albeit slow where the Government of Sindh is lending all possible support.

“I firmly believe in proactive role of media as an evaluation tool, keeping a check and balance on institutions, it helps get the instant pulse of people sensitivities and emotion, and that is why an active and effective media is an asset for a government focused on development.”

Talking about the role of media he said, “I highly emphasize on the power of media as it’s my firm belief that media plays a significant role in nation building, fifteen twenty years ago a government may have been desirous of media singing on its tunes, but in this age and time there is no place for such thinking. This, in fact, is indeed assisting the Government and is a positive contribution from the media industry in national progress. On the other hand, media can play a vital role in educating the masses and playing its due role, but such a role can only be justly evaluated if we look at media beyond talk shows.”

Talking about the role of Information Department Secretary Information added that information department has a key role, and under the supervision of secretary information the core objective of this department is to facilitate mass media, to act as a bridge between Government and Media, and to distribute & oversee the advertisements of various government departments to print, electronic and digital media.

Discussing the challenges faced after taking over the Information Department, Imran Atta Soomro added that things were messy, and there was lack of coordination between various wings of the department. But, I give full credit to my team that worked tirelessly day and night to clear years old backlog, which was a major challenge and we took it as an opportunity, moreover taking bold decisions that helped us improve and move forward. It was a good opportunity to take the right steps in the right direction on the right time; it was never an easy task, but the trust bestowed by the Chief Minister made it possible. The core responsibility of Sindh Information Department is to provide uninterrupted and authentic information about Government of Sindh and its various departments and their performance to media and public. The information department not only propagates government’s policies and performances but keeps government abreast of the effects and public reactions to Government policies and actions.

Responding towards the role of the government and stabilization of Media, he added that government supports media through advertisements, which is a vital source of income for many media outlets. Thousands of media workers are being paid salaries and incentives from the same income, so our first priority is regional newspapers, as mainstream national newspapers can survive on commercial advertisement, but smaller regional newspapers are more dependent on the Government.

Talking about Sindh Government’s efforts to provide instant relief to the people of Sindh, he said that Government of Sindh under the leadership of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has commenced a concerted development program throughout Sindh, and these efforts have started to pay off as well.  As per his say, education and health are being given priority, whereas a network of highways and link roads are being laid in Sindh with help of modern technology.  With reference to the ongoing developing work in Karachi, Mr. Imran Atta Soomro said that presently Sindh Government is trying to redress 30 years of deprivation and that the citizens of Karachi will get relief soon. He said that developing projects are not being inaugurated before completion; a common man will get world class transportation services, sewerage drainage projects that are under completion, plus the city will not submerge in a few drops of rain anymore. In fact, he assured that the quality of work is of international standard, which is being supervised by the Chief Minister himself.

The peace has been restored in city by the sacrifices of law enforcing agencies, and government is striving to bring back the festivity back to life. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has energized bureaucracy otherwise infamous for being lame, by leading through examples by reporting to office on time and making officers come on time as well. Provincial departments under the energetic leadership of Murad Ali Shah are striving to serve people, the local body ministry is striving to clean Karachi, and their efforts will bear fruits soon.

Secretary Information Imran Atta Soomro shed light on Sindh Government’s efforts for various water supply projects, anti-encroachment drives, the green energy policy, modernization of various departments, traffic related problems and law & order situation. There is a lot of buzz about the upcoming change in the country, but the candid discussion with Secretary Information Sindh revealed tangible prospects of progress in Sindh; the only need is to keep this passion alive and maintain the continuity of the development.

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