The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN- IFRA) dedicates its 2010 World Press Freedom Day campaign to “Journalists in Exile”.
Despite the existence of rights enshrined by national and international conventions, journalists continue to find themselves in frequent peril for simply doing their job, as they strive to report the truth
in the passionate belief that reporting what they see is the foundation of a healthy democracy.
The extreme levels of intimidation faced by journalists in some countries, including Pakistan, have forced many to flee and live in exile, thereby denying them the right to inform and their fellow citizens to be informed.
WAN-IFRA calls on those countries who have journalists living in exile to end this intimidation, so that journalists may return to continue their work and play a vital role in informing their fellow citizens, thereby ensuring a healthy democracy flourishes. This is the clear message we need to impress on World Press Freedom Day 2010.
It is this level of intimidation that drove Pakistani journalist, Mansoor Hassan Hashmi, to flee his homeland and seek refuge in the United Kingdom. His investigations into issues such as honour killings,
tainted pesticides, narcotic gangs and unsolved murders led him to be beaten up, poisoned and even rammed with a vehicle. We feature his story, along with other journalists from countries such as Iran and Mexico, on our campaign website – www.worldpressfreedomday.org
On World Press Freedom Day, WAN-IFRA also wishes to commend the dedication of the Rural Media Network Pakistan to defend and promote freedom of expression in Pakistan.
It is the view of WAN-IFRA that RMNP is indeed playing an active role in promoting and defending freedom of expression in rural Pakistan. It does so through relevant actions and tools, including a website dedicated to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, a monthly newsletter
published in Urdu language, a press freedom award, and the celebration since 1999 of the World Press Freedom Day.
Over the past years, the Network has, moreover, actively and successfully contributed to efforts initiated by WAN-IFRA in the field of press freedom.
Director General, Global Affairs
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers WAN-IFRA