World Press Freedom Day -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

World Press Freedom Day

KARACHI: Throughout the world, May 3 serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that many journalists brave jail or even face death to bring people their daily news.

The main theme of World Press Freedom Day-2006 was, “The Media as a Force for Change” and this year UNESCO has dedicated the day to the correlation between media freedom and the eradication of poverty.

In this connection, Karachi Press Club and Karachi Union of Journalists have organised a seminar on the “State of Press in Pakistan”.

Former Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court Justice (retd) Wajihuddin will chair the seminar, which will also be addressed by senior editors, journalists and representatives of private TV channels. Besides this, a rally will be taken out by electronic media staffers, starting from the Arts Council to Karachi Press Club, which will also be participated in by print media persons.

Meanwhile, at a report issued by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), on the occasion of International Press Freedom Day least five journalists, including an editor, were killed, six were kidnapped and tortured by Intelligence agencies. Besides this, over 50 journalists of print and electronic media were injured, as new trends of violence against the journalists hit the headlines in the Pakistani media in 2006, says .

Besides attack on journalists, even their families were not spared and the brothers of two journalists were also killed. One of them was forced to leave his home, while several in the tribal areas quit the profession, according to the report.

Of six journalists abducted, one of them, Hayatullah Khan, was killed, while others were released after physical torture.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), representative body of the Journalists in its report called for “safety measures,” “life insurance,” “free medical cover,” and “safety training,” for their staffers particularly for reporters, cameramen and photojournalists.

The most dangerous trend noticed last year was the kidnapping of journalists allegedly by the Intelligence agencies with the abduction and killing of tribal area journalist Hayatullah Khan being the worst incident.

The PFUJ suspects the role of a provincial Sindh minister in protecting the killers of the KTN cameraman Munir Sangi, and using police pressure on his brother Hadi Sangi.

Brothers of slain journalists Hayatullah Khan and Dilawar Wazir were also killed. The BBC’s correspondent, Wazir, had moved from Wana to Dera Ismail Khan because of threats and attack on his family and his residence.

The report laments that the government had also failed to resolve the murder cases of two senior journalists, Mohammad Ismail and Maqbool Sial. The motives behind the murder continue to be a mystery.

The PFUJ is deeply concerned over the highly malevolent and intolerant stance of the authorities towards journalists.

In this regard, an International Mission visited Pakistan at the invitation of PFUJ, which included the President of the International Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) Christopher Warren and the President of National Union of Journalists, (NUJ), UK, Chris Morley, from February 22 to 25, who met the victims, government officials, rights group in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar.

The Mission in its report released early this month called for immediate local and International action to address the crisis facing the Pakistani media community.
Source: The News