Britain’s largest media union deplores attack on Hamid Mir, Geo
LONDON: The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland (NUJ), Britain’s largest media union, has deplored attack on famous Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir and condemned the application to Pemra seeking ban on Geo TV for allegedly maligning national institutions.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ’s General Secretary, called on Pakistani authorities to provide safety to media instead of taking hostile steps aimed at muzzling the freedom of press. Michelle Stanistreet called for a thorough investigation into the murder attempt on Hamid Mir’s life.
She said: “The security situation for journalists in Pakistan is deteriorating, and there needs to be an immediate investigation into the attempted murder of Hamid Mir. Murder attempts on senior journalists are becoming tragically routine in Pakistan which is now one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists. Seven journalists have been murdered in Pakistan in 2014 and death threats and intimidation continue in a climate of impunity.”
She added: “The NUJ backs the local union, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, demands of the Pakistani government to make journalists safer and to ensure death threats and attacks are thoroughly investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice. So far the government has failed in its duty to protect media workers.”
The NUJ general secretary extended support and solidarity to journalists in Pakistan and opposed the Defence Ministry’s moves to get the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take action against Geo TV network.
The NUJ said in a statement: “It seems the authorities are now trying to stop a full and public debate by trying to ban Geo TV and cancelling its licence. The union calls on Pemra not to act on the spurious complaint and demands that Pakistan’s security services recognise the essential role of the media in any country—a free and independent media is a necessary requirement in any functioning society. If Geo TV’s licence is revoked then it will be tantamount to direct interference of the armed forces and intelligence agencies in the freedom of press and expression.”