Joint front to be formed in defence of freedom of expression

We demand more freedoms and will stand up against violation of fundamental human and civil rights

Civil society and media leaders condemned the suspension ofjoint-front-to-be-formed-in-defence-of-freedom-of-expression-0706201413573956 GEO News for 15 days by PEMRA and termed it as an assault on freedom of expression and democratic values at a meeting held at SAFMA secretariat.

Attacks on journalists and media houses with impunity and strangulation of a media house is a stark reflection of authoritarian tendencies that may be fatal for the overall democratic dispensation, observed Mr I A Rehman Director of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Senior journalist Hussain Naqi lamented the disunity among the media ranks and called for unity among the media persons for freedom of press and safety of journalists while criticizing those forces who are using strong-arm tactics to muzzle the press.

While opposing the suspension of GEO, Tehreik-i-Insaf MNA Shafqat Mehmood expressed his concerns about the way media has been flouting its freedom by running vicious and slanderous campaigns against the politicians. He emphasized that he is for more freedom and against restrictions with a greater sense of professional responsibility.

Commenting on the current state of media, senior journalist Anjum Rashied said that never in history the media have so amateurishly undermined its own freedom to settle business scores.

Educationist Abbas Rashied emphasized the need to view press freedom and safety of journalists in the broader perspective of freedom of expression and right to life that cannot be compromised.

Columnist Kamran Shafi warned that attacks on press will lead to the attack on democracy and the Nawaz Sharif government should not have abdicated its writ in the face of unlawful conduct of certain forces.

Director South Asian Partnership Mr Tehseen proposed that all democratic forces must unite in defence of freedom of press and democratic values.

Editor Farah Zia said that the state institutions must follow due process of law and justice rather than clamping down on a media house and its workers.

The journalists from various media organizations lamented the current environment in which they are being forced to work against their conscience and called on media houses to allow professional editors to perform their role in keeping high professional standards and media ethics. They appealed to working journalists to unite against attacks on their colleagues and protect their freedom and economic rights.

Summing up the consultative process, Secretary General of SAFMA Imtiaz Alam said that there cannot be any compromise on freedom of expression and safety of citizens and journalists. We demand, he said, more freedoms and will stand up against violation of fundamental human and civil rights, including a free media. Condemning the attacks on journalists and forcible shutdown of GEO News, he said infighting of various media houses have undermined the very premise of press freedom and a divided media community cannot fight for a cause they have themselves demolished. Mr Alam said freedoms and rights are indivisible and can be fought and defended by all the democratic forces together as a part of strengthening democratic values and democratic system. He warned against those adventurous elements that are resorting to unconstitutional and illegal means to impose their will or trying to pitch media against the national security institutions. He said the media is bound by the constitution not to bring armed forces and judiciary in disrepute. Mr Alam underlined the necessity to expand the horizon of freedoms while accepting the greater responsibility to use their freedom with care and professional caution. He cautioned against further aggravating the current tussle between the Jang-group and the military establishment. Time is for fire-fighting and not for adding fuel to the fire as some elements are desperately trying, he observed.

Source: SAFMA

Similar Posts