PFUJ questions minister’s claim about press freedom
KARACHI, Dec 8: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has contested Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s recent statement regarding the state of freedom of the press and expression in the country and described it as deceptive and misleading.
The ministers responding to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch had claimed that the government was fairly following the principle of promoting freedom of the press to uphold democratic values in society.
In a press statement, expressing serious concern about the present state of affairs, PFUJ president Ahfaz-ur-Rahman pointed out that a number of journalists had been arrested on various charges, harassed or intimidated by the agencies during the last three years.
“The practice of issuing press advice still exists and intimidation, implicit or open, from the press departments continues,” he said. He also recalled the incidents concerning Herald’s Amir Mir and Balochistan journalist Rasheed Azam cited by the Human Rights Watch.
The PFUJ president urged President Gen Pervez Musharraf to create a genuine environment for freedom of the press by checking the use of coercion and intimidation instead of relying on false claims and distorted stories spread by the information ministry