RMNP WPFD Roundtable expresses its solidarity with Gaza’s journalists

RMNP=Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia World Press Freedom Day Roundtable 3rd May ,2024
Participants of RMNP World Press Freedom Day Roundtable expressing their solidarity with Gaza's journalists

Breaking news: Khanpur’s journalist Jam Sagheer Ahmed Lar murder’s mystery resolved

RMNP presents its Sadiq Press Freedom Cash awards to Environmental & Print Journalists

Participants of World Press Freedom Day Roundtable organized by the Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) in collaboration with Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia on 3rd May 2024 expressed their solidarity with Gaza’s journalists displaying placards inscribed with slogans, ” Stop Killing the Journalists, “Journalism is not Crime”. They condemned the Israeli huge bombardment which claimed the lives of 97 journalists in Gaza. Participants paid rich tributes to journalists, camera operators, producers, risking their lives every single day for the world to see what is happening in Gaza. It’s complete courage. It’s remarkable. There are no words to describe the role of Palestinian journalists who, to this day, are still covering the slaughter of their own people, their own families, the destruction of their own homes, their own land. And they are still standing to tell the story.

Award holders pic

RMNP Sadiq Press Freedom Cash Awards holders( Right to left Muhammad Akmal Abbasi and Syed Owais Zaidi group photo with Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia Awards holders Sheikh AzizurRehman,Abdul Hameed Saqib & Irshad Ahmed Shad

RMNP World Press Freedom Roundtable was held in the premises of Punjab college AhmedpurEast.It was chaired by President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar while prominent intellectual and MPA Hassan Askari Sheikh was the key-note speaker. Deputy Editor FOE Newsletter Sadiq News Hameedullah Khan Aziz acted as moderator while it was addressed by Deputy Secretary Information PPP South Punjab Muhammad Ali Ahsan, JUIF NA-166 ticket holder Qari SaifurRehman Rashadi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Tehsil President Malik Muzzafar Karim advocate,JUI (N) central leader Hakeem Muhammad Hussnain Chuhan, Patron-in-Chief Samasatta Press Club Iftikhar Ahmed Alvi, President Press Club Chanigoth Shahid Bashir Chaudhry, President Media Club Sheikh AzizurRehman,President Ahmedpur Union of Journalists Abdul Hameed Saqib, President Uch Press Club & Media Group Uchsharif Irshad Ahmed Shad,Editor Ijaz Ahmed Khan, educationist & Tehsil Coordinator RMNP Muhammad Suleman Farooqi and others.

Hassan Askari Key Note Speaker 1

Prominent intellectual & MPA Hassan Askari Sheikh delivering his key-note speech in World Press Freedom Day Roundtable organised by the Rural Media Network Pakistan in collaboration with Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia.

JUIF District Bahawalpur General Secretary Qari SaifurRehman Rashadi condemned the killing of JUIF leader and President Khuzdar Press Club (KPC) Maulana Muhammad Siddique Mengal in bomb blast on the World Press Freedom Day and termed it the failure of the government. Participants also strongly condemned the brutal murder of the KPC president, emphasising that such acts undermined press freedom and democracy. They urged prompt and thorough investigations into the murder to bring the perpetrators to justice. They also stressed the need for enhanced safety measures for journalists throughout Pakistan.

A view of the RMNP WPFD Roundtable 1

A view of the RMNP World Press Freedom Day Roundtable organised in collaboration with Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia

President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar while presenting the extracts of RMNP annual press freedom report informed the audience that three journalists including one female have been killed in Pakistan from 1st January 2024 to 3rd May 2024 .He disclosed that all these three killed journalists belong to districts adding that majority of the journalists killed in the line of duty in Pakistan since 2000 hail from small towns and rural areas while Pakistani media in urban-oriented. He mentioned the release of the 2024 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders which saw Pakistan dropping two places to 152. The index said Pakistan is “one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with three to four murders each year”

Ehsan Ahmed Sehar 2

President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar presenting extracts from RMNP annual press freedom report in which he broke the news that Khanpur’s journalist Jam Sagheer Ahmed Lar murder mystery resolved

Mr Sehar stated that the mystery of the blind murder of Khanpur’s journalist Jam Sagheer Ahmed Lar has been resolved who was shot dead at his pharmacy by three unknown armed persons on 14th March 2024.Punjab Police had constituted a special team for the investigation of this blind murder on the demand of journalist’s community and international pressure. Director General UNESCO, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had issued statements and alerts about journalist brutal murder. They had demanded that journalists must be protected from all forms of violence and authorities should assess threats thoroughly as a preventive measure. They had also urged the authorities to investigate this killing and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Iftikhar Alvi 1

Patron-in-Chief Samasatta Press Club Iftikhar Ahmed Alvi highlights the plight of rural journalists working in hostile environment

President RMNP revealed that as per Police investigations, ill-fated journalist Jam Sagheer Ahmed Lar was shot dead by three shooters identified as Imran alias Khani, Nadeem and Rizwan Sheikh residents of Mandi Bahauddin district central Punjab. Their services were hired by one Muhammad Bilal Lar a neighbor of slain Jam Saghir Lar .He has a wife with two kids but  residing in Saudi Arabia on work visa. In his absentia, journalist Jam Sagheer Lar ‘s maternal nephew Shahid developed illicit relations with his wife and this dispute went to the Lahore High Court. Jam Sagheer Lar allegedly backed his nephew Shahid in court cases, so Bilal decided to kill both maternal uncle and nephew. Bilal with the abetment of his one friend residing in Muscat hired three shooters Imran, Nadeem and Rizwan Sheikh and paid them PKR one million for their killings. Police says, these hired shooters failed to find both uncle and nephew at one place for three consecutive days so they assassinated journalist Jam Sagheer Ahmed Lar at his pharmacy in Nwankot,Khanpur Sub-division of district Rahimyarkhan and sped away from the scene in the cover of indiscriminate aerial firing.

JUI Qari Saifurrehman Rashadi 1

District General Secretary JUIF Qari SaifurRehman Rashadi presenting his point of view in RMNP World Press Freedom Day Roundtable

Briefing the audience about the previously unidentified body discovered on March 11 near the Lehri National Park Sohawa,Jhelum has been confirmed to be Pakpattan local newspaper correspondent Tahira Nausheen Rana.The Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP)) strongly condemned the journalist’s killing and urged Maryam Nawaz first female Chief Minister of the Punjab province to issue the orders to conduct an immediate and comprehensive investigation into her murder.The reasons behind the killing are unclear. He hopes that Tahira’s murder’s mystery will be resolved soon.

Muhammad Ali Ahsan PPP 1

Deputy Information Secretary PPP South Punjab Muhammad Al Ahsan highlighting pro-media policies of PPP Sindh government

  Mr Sehar also highlighted prevailing situation about working journalists in both urban and rural areas and said thar in December 2022, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had promised the implementation of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021. He now again inducted as Premier so he should fulfill his commitment and issue the directions for the establishment of safety commission under the law.

Coordinator RMNP Muhammad Suleman Farooqi said that journalism is essential for exposing the global climate crisis. RMNP had conducted five days” Climate Awareness Building Workshop’ in July 2013 with the support of UNESCO New Delhi South Asia which was attended by journalists residing in riverine areas of South Punjab. These areas were badly hit by heavy floods and torrential rains two years ago. He underlined the need to support RMNP for organising training sessions as there is lack of reporting on climate change in Pakistani media. Mr Farooqi told that RMNP is today presenting its one Sadiq Press Freedom Cash Award to an environmental journalist who was kidnapped, tortured and detained in private dera as he had aired a report on TV channel against a kiln owner for violating environmental law.

Muhammad Suleman Farooqi 1

Coordinator RMNP Muhammad Suleman Farooqi talking about lack of climate change reporting in the rural areas of Pakistan

Editor Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia Ijaz Ahmed Khan discussing in the roundtable said that freedom of expression is shrinking in Pakistan. In recent general and by-elections, journalists in both urban and rural areas had been beaten and detained. They were not allowed to enter in several rural polling stations and even returning officers did not provide them relevant information. He said that journalists and newspapers have imposed self-censorship which will block public access to information that is needed to make well-considered decisions.

Hakeem Muhammad Husnain Chuhan JUI N 1

Central leader JUI Nazariati Hakeem Muhammad Hussnain Chuhan paying tributes to the historical struggle of the veteran journalists Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Agha Shorish Kashmiri

Key-note speaker prominent intellectual MPA Hassan Askari Sheikh congratulated both Rural Media Network Pakistan & Daily Nawa-I- AhmedpurSharqia for consecutively celebrating World Press Freedom Day since 3rd May 1999.He termed newspaper Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia as a pioneer of WPFD in rural Pakistan. He said that present government believes in the freedom of press and is providing maximum facilities to them while discharging their professional duties. He urged journalists to shun their differences so they could play an effective role to end the increasing polarisation in our society . Mr Askari assured that he would take up the establishment of journalists safety commission issue at both federal and Punjab government levels in his party PML(Q) high command meeting as we are their ally in both Punjab and federal governments. On the demand of the President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar,he announced to provide required grant for the construction of Press Club Chanigoth building.

Malik Muzzafar Karim Tehsil President PTI 1

Tehsil President Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Malik Muzzafar Karim advocate elaborating PTI policy towards media

Presentation of RMNP Sadiq Press Freedom Cash Awards

  According to the decision of RMNP jury “RMNP Annual Sadiq Press Freedom Award” was presented to TV journalist Muhammad Akmal Abbasi who was kidnapped, tortured and detained by an influential kiln owner of the area against whom the journalist had aired a story on the charge of the violation of environmental law. Moreover, recently he has been implicated in a false case of heinous crime but the court confirmed his pre-arrest bail. Similarly, 78 years old daily local newspaper “Kainat” young court reporter Syed Owais Zaidi received RMNP Sadiq Press Freedom Award Category C who sustained injuries in a murderous attack and his right leg fractured. Both victim journalists are waiting for justice which seems denied to them so far as their culprits are influential. A unanimous resolution was adopted in this meeting demanding police high-ups to provide justice to both victim young journalists Muhammad Akmal Abbasi & Syed Owais Zaidi. 

Presentation of Nawa-I-AhmedpurShaqia Awards 

Daily Nawa-I-AhmedpurSharqia also presented its “Journalists Friend Awards” to President Uch Press Club & Media Group Uchsharif Irshad Ahmed Shad and President Ahmedpur Union of Journalists AhmedpurEast Abdul Hameed Saqib while President Media Club Sheikh AzizurRehman received” Best Working Journalist Award. 

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