Freedom of Press under threat

THERE are some ominous developments for journalists and journalism, which cause legitimate concerns not only among media-persons but also among all those who are convinced that freedom of press is fundamental to strengthening democracy and overall socio-economic development of the country. Journalists are under attack in different areas and they are finding it increasingly difficult to discharge their professional responsibilities because of fears and pressures.
Attack on a senior Reporter Ahmad Noorani by unknown assailants in broad-daylight in the Federal Capital on Friday has rightly been described by journalists and majority of people of Pakistan as an attack on freedom of press. Plurality and difference of opinion exist in every open society but ours has become extremely intolerant and if no remedial measures are taken there are apprehensions of extreme polarisation, which could be very dangerous. We hope that the government would investigate the incident, apprehend and punish the culprits to avoid stop this rot. Apart from the incidents of attacks on journalists in the Federal Capital, there are also reports from Balochistan that the press is not allowed to function independently by militants and extremist elements. Distribution of newspapers is being hampered and journalists covering the situation in the province in an impartial manner are facing serious threats to their life. We were told that security situation in Balochistan has tremendously improved but latest incidents clearly indicate that the gains were transitory and much has to be done to restore complete peace and normalcy there. Under these circumstances, we would urge both Federal and provincial governments to order greater vigilance and ensure adequate protection for journalists.

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