Govt urged to fully ensure journalists protection
ISLAMABAD— Speakers at the forum have urged the government and media houses to ensure safety and security of journalists.
Speaking at the forum to discuss the safety and security of the media in Pakistan they said that journalists were working in dangerous conditions in Pakistan, adding that they face threats both in conflict and settled areas. The discussion was organized by a delegation of the European Union in Pakistan.
Addressed by senior journalists, the panel discussion was moderated by Ambassador Lars Gunnar Wigemark, head of the European Union delegation to Pakistan.
The Ambassador said that freedom of expression is one of the core values of the European Union. He said EU and Pakistan have many legal commitments to security of journalists.
“Pakistan is a dangerous country for journalists as 32 journalists have been killed in past three years,” he said.
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas regretted that the managements of media houses and the government were not serious in providing security and safety to journalists. He said that it was responsibility of the management to provide insurance coverage, bulletproof jackets and related equipments to journalists reporting from conflict areas.
“Around 80 percent of those killed during reporting mission in conflict areas were not even formal employees of newspapers or channels.”
Analyst Haroon Rashid while expressing his views said that there were three main challenges to the journalists working in Pakistan. He said lack of training is the main challenge as ‘being a journalist it is our duty to unearth the truth’. “Truth always comes out no matter how much you hide it,” he said.
“The second challenge is that we have intolerant society in Pakistan, we are not ready to accept criticism,” he added.
“The third and the most important challenge is that the government has to provide protection to the journalists,” Haroon Rashid added. “Many journalists have been killed but still we don’t know who was behind those killings,” he said. Columnist and senior analyst Ahmed Rashid said that information has been curtailed in Pakistan. “Extremism in the country has targeted journalists, they are being killed in Quetta and Tribal Areas, where is the protection for journalists,” he said.
“I am glad a commission has been set up on the killing of Saleem Shahzad.”
Source: The Nation