Journalist Sadia Mazhar Faces Harassment for Exercising Right to Information
ISLAMABAD: Sadia Mazhar, a journalist based in Sahiwal, has been facing threats and harassment from officials of public bodies in response to her information requests filed under the Right to Information laws. Mazhar is known for her regular practice of filing information requests to public bodies to obtain information for her news stories.
Recently, Mazhar filed an information request to the Sahiwal Club, whose Secretary responded with a threatening letter stating that her act of filing the request constitutes an offense punishable under Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The Secretary requested the Commission to file a complaint against Mazhar.
In addition to this, Mazhar also filed an information request to the Excise and Taxation Department in Lahore, and then started receiving messages on her mobile from a staff member of the department, who was harassing her.
This is not the first time that Mazhar has faced such harassment from public officials. Earlier, she received a threatening call and email from the Elementary and Secondary Education Department in Karachi when she sought information about the facilities in an education institution in Larkana. The department asked her to explain about her news organization and the purpose of seeking the information.
Expressing her concerns over such harassment from officials of public bodies, Mazhar stated that such tactics cannot stop her from performing her professional duties as a journalist. She is committed to using her right to access information to report on issues that matter to the public.
Civil society organizations and journalist unions have condemned these acts of harassment against Mazhar. They have called on the authorities to take action against those who are using such tactics to silence journalists and suppress information.
Source: The Reporters