U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US government is aware of ways to block the media and the Pakistani society and such restrictions on freedom of speech undermine the country’s image and ability to move forward.
A statement from a top US official responded to a question from a Pakistani journalist while speaking to the media on World Press Freedom Day.
“Pakistan is still one of the countries in the world considered to be the most dangerous place for journalists. In the past year, many journalists have been killed, abducted, tortured for exposing crime and corruption and criticizing some government policies. Will it come out of bilateral talks with the Pakistani authorities? “Asked a reporter.
“The short answer is yes. We take this in our meetings with our Pakistani partners,” Blinken replied.
“Yes, this is also the article on the Annual Human Rights Report that we are releasing, and, yes, we are aware of significant barriers to the media and the general public in Pakistan,” he continued.
According to the World Press Freedom Index, Pakistan fell by 12 points in one news release in a single year and is now below and under Afghanistan, which is controlled by the Taliban.
The World Press Freedom Index is published annually by Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), also known as Reporters Without Borders. In a statement released yesterday, Pakistan also placed India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal but above Bangladesh, Iran and China.
On Tuesday, the secretary of state of the United States noted that a strong and independent newspaper and an informed citizenry are essential to any country and its future, including Pakistan.
These actions [of curbing free media]he warned, undermining his freedom of speech.
“They are undermining the peace process. They are undermining Pakistan’s image and its ability to move forward. So it is something that comes down to both our specific conventions and the work we do every day,” he added.
PFUJ calls for the protection of freedom of the press
Meanwhile, on the eve of World 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 remained extremely positive 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 leaders said the government led by Imran Khan introduced stricter laws in the context of Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and amendments to the Electronic Crime Prevention Act (PECA) which could be called “Anti-Media Law”.
Such laws were designed to silence the freedom of the press and to speak 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.
They officially call PTI “bad” in the media.
The PFUJ said the previous government registered and “fabricated false allegations” against journalists, without resorting to “extremism and assassination attempts by the media”. It also required monitoring and commenting in the media. “Those who did not submit to government pressure were fined financially, which would hurt the media and the media equally, pushing the business to bankrupt,” the PFUJ said.
“Furthermore, the media is being exploited by PTI activists and women journalists and anchors are being harassed and trampled by members of the cabinet, which cannot be seen in any civilized society,” the statement said.
The government must immediately create a media freedom environment and begin negotiations with stakeholders to develop a strategy that will protect the freedom of the media in the country, concludes the report.