ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has demanded of Prime Minister Imran Khan to explain his position on the freedom of speech in the wake of his Special Assistant on Information Shehbaz Gill’s statement over the issue.

The journalists’ body expressed grave concern over Gill’s statement in which he openly announced that the PTI government would control all the current affairs’ programs on TV news channels and would even finalize the list of guests.

Terming it a fascist tendency, PFUJ’s President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi strongly condemned these remarks and demanded of the prime minister to clarify his position.

Both the union leaders stated that the freedom of press and the freedom of expression is the fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution. “In addition to that Pakistan is a signatory of international treaties and conventions on press freedom and freedom of expression. We would like to know if the prime minister will adhere to such treaties or not.”

Zulfiqar and Zaidi observed that since PTI came into power, the media has been under tremendous pressure. “There has been a phenomenal surge in the incidents of editorial dictations, censorship, press advice, arm-twisting of journalists, content control and use of advertisement as a tool of blackmailing media houses.

The union leaders said on the one hand the government asks Pakistanis to improve the image of the country but on the other hand “elements like Gill are doing no service to the country by hurling veiled threats at media persons by openly expressing government’s intention of muzzling the media. Such acts will only tarnish the image of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Source: Journalism Pakistan

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