APHR condemns attacks on press freedom
PESHAWAR: The Alliance for Protection of Human Rights (APHR), a group of civil society organisations, staged a protest camp to condemn the attacks on press freedom and to show solidarity with journalists in their struggle for reporting events and expressing opinions freely.
The APHR, consisting of Shirkat Gah, Aurat Foundation, Human Rights Management and Development Council, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Sungi, Khwendo Kor and Noor Education Trust, set up the protest camp in front of the Peshawar Press Club and its activists remained there from 10:00am to 1:00pm.
The APHR activists displayed banners at the camp that called for free media, “which is facing threats from the government,” and easy access to information. The APHR pledged support to the freedom of the press.
Later, the APHR activists addressed a press conference to condemn the attacks and threats to private TV channels.
Aurat Foundation resident director Rukhshanda Naz said independent electronic and print media was a source of genuine information for the people but deplored that the government was using various pressure tactics to subdue the media.
Rukhshanda mentioned the police attack on Geo TV offices in Islamabad and a notice by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to Aaj TV for extensive and objective reporting on the current judicial crisis, and said attempts to intimidate media would not succeed.
The HRs activist said journalists were unsafe, and that democracy could not exist and flourish unless the press was free.
Dr Said Alam Mehsud, leader of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), said the judiciary, parliament, executive and the media were four vital pillars of the state. “The first three cannot work and survive if the fourth one is gagged,” said the nationalist leader.
The HRs activist said his party wanted absolute freedom of press, adding that no country could develop and prosper unless the press was independent.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Vice Chairman Advocate Kamran Arif said curbing free media meant controlling the minds of the people. He said the government, intelligence agencies and extremist groups were attacking the media. He quoted the case of tribal journalist Hayatullah who was abducted from North Waziristan and found murdered last year, six months after he was kidnapped.
Source: Daily Times