HRCP concerned at ‘vicious campaign’ on TV
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday expressed grave concern over a vicious campaign by a TV anchorperson against several journalists and rights defenders.
In a statement, the Commission said: “The HRCP has been horrified by the licence given to an anchorperson on a private TV channel to ridicule renowned journalists and social activists and, even more dangerously, to incite violence against them.
“Anchorpersons Najam Sethi and Muneeb Farooq have been specially targeted, in addition to dozens of respected journalists and civil society activists being criticised, maligned or ridiculed. It is troubling that expressions such as sedition, treason and blasphemy are being thrown around in an already intolerant atmosphere,” it said.
It further said: “The venomous preaching of hate seems to have been already followed by a dozen or so small demonstrations and lodging of a number of cases on sedition charges against respected journalists who have dared to comment on some of the policies of powerful institutions of the state.”
“At a time when tackling hate speech in Pakistan is supposedly one of the nation’s top priorities under the National Action Plan (NAP), those in authority must not remain mere spectators. A failure to rein in this daily campaign to malign respected journalists, followed closely by staging of small demonstrations and lodging of sedition cases raises many questions,” the commission said and expressed hope that the days of lending official support or acquiescence to such practices are now history.
The HRCP urged the government to condemn unequivocally this despicable campaign and put an immediate end to it.
“It must also ensure that the journalists and civil society activists facing the verbal assault are protected from a very clear threat of physical attacks and the hatemongers must be brought to justice.”