September 29, 2020
ISLAMABAD—Dawn newspaper agreed with PFUJ’s assertion that a systematic war has been launched by the government and anti-media forces to curb the freedom of expression and force the media houses to toe the official line or face the government’s wrath.
In an editorial on Tuesday, No press freedom, the newspaper said the situation is bad enough if the press and citizens of a country are denied freedom of expression. It is at its worst if there is a system in place to ensure they are deprived of this right.
Commenting on the statement of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), it said the journalists’ body had made a strong charge-sheet against the PTI government. “The financial squeeze blamed on the government and an unabashed resort to old-style censorship by those who would never have been in power but for a vibrant media figured prominently in the PFUJ charge-sheet against the Imran Khan set-up that claims to draw its principles from the most tolerant of orders.”
It said the PFUJ meeting in Quetta was among the most significant of its kind in its history given the number of serious issues that it had on its agenda: freedom of expression, large-scale lay-offs, and reductions in the salaries of workers in news organisations, the economic squeeze as a result of non-payment of dues and government policies, the kidnapping of journalists, harassment of women journalists, the prolonged incarceration of a media house owner caught in a vicious accountability cycle.
“This is a long list even by the standards of a country where journalists’ unions have been up against one challenge after another. It is quite clear from the questions raised that the government is not the only one on the list of those the PFUJ must be pursuing in an effort to get Pakistani journalists a better deal. But the government appears to be the chief offender.”
Pakistan Observer, November 17, 2016
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