EU election observers informed of media curbs
ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman on Wednesday brought to the notice of a European Union delegation the difficulties being faced by media, especially Dawn, across the country.
Talking to a four-member delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Pakistan led by Michael Gahler, Senator Rehman said that “constitutionally guaranteed freedoms must be observed, as well as seen to be observed, during elections”.
She said the right to a free media was one of such constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. However, Senate committees had received several complaints regarding intimidation being faced by certain media outlets, particularly Dawn.
Any curbs on free media would cast a shadow on the state of fundamental entitlements in the country, she said. Ms Rehman also highlighted the important role the presence of foreign observers could play in the upcoming general elections in Pakistan.
“The people of Pakistan vest great hope in electing their public representatives. We hope in turn to raise the standard of governance and responsiveness to public needs each time a government is elected through an open democratic process. Ensuring a level playing field is a crucial norm for all political parties and candidates in the contest,” she said.
“Elections have been contentious in the past and it is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that all complaints are taken seriously and in due time,” the senator said.
A peaceful, constitutional transfer of power through the democratic process would send a strong and welcome message of stability across the country, she said.
“We all welcome higher standards of transparency and justice in public life. But it must, of course, be seen to be applicable all around,” added Senator Rehman.