ISLAMABAD: On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) announced its decision to guarantee freedom of the press and to express opinions in a country that has been severely depleted during the previous regime.
The PFUJ has called on the ruling government to focus on protecting freedom of speech and expression as no government can achieve its goals without the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression.
In a joint statement released on Monday, PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfiqar and general secretary Nasir Zaidi emphasized the importance of freedom of the press, free speech and the free speech. “Freedom of publishing is a hallmark of any developed and healthy society and is inescapable.”
PFUJ leaders said the government led by Imran Khan introduced stricter laws in the form of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and the amendment of the Electronic Crime Prevention Act (PECA) which could impose a “anti-media law”.
Such laws were designed to restrict freedom of the press and the press and to shut down the media, they noted, but it was the persistent campaign of the PFUJ and civil society organizations that forced the government to withdraw the amendment, they added.
Expressing concern about the state of media freedom in Pakistan, the PFUJ said: “In at least nine cases, journalists have been intimidated or completely silenced, whether by way of attack, coercion disappearance, murder or outright surveillance. Pakistan has been steadily declining in terms of freedom of the press as the PTI-led government uses control tactics against the media, journalists and the media.
They call the PTI government’s time too bad for the media.
The PFUJ said the previous government registered cases that were framed and rigged against journalists, without resorting to kidnapping and attempted murder of media professionals. It also required monitoring and commenting in the media. Those who did not submit to government pressure were fined financially, which hurt the media and the media equally, pushing the business to collapse.
In addition, media people were harassed by PTI activists and women journalists and anchors were harassed and trampled by cabinet members, who are not visible to any civilized society, the report said.
The government should urgently create a climate of freedom of the press and initiate dialogue with stakeholders to devise a strategy that will protect freedom of the press in the country, the statement concluded.
Published Parhlo, May 3, 2022