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Joint efforts for press freedom were emphasized

Joint efforts for press freedom were emphasized

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Lahore: Speakers at a national webinar on press freedom have stressed the need for unity among journalists’ organizations to fight unnecessary restrictions on the media and said that media freedom in Pakistan is linked to the independence of the republic and the judiciary Is.

Punjab University School of Communication Studies (SCS) organized a webinar which included Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Saleem Mazhar, SCS Director Prof. Dr. Noshina Saleem, Prof. Dr. Mehdi Hassan, Prof. Dr. Shafiq Jolandri, Dr. Mujahid Ali. The most senior teachers of journalism attended. Mansoori, eminent journalist Hamid Mir, Lahore Press Club President Irshad Ansari, Salman Ghani, faculty members and a large number of students.

“We cannot achieve freedom of the press unless we ensure the right to know and promote investigative journalism,” Dr. Mehdi Hassan was quoted as saying in a press release. He said that political parties and journalists’ organizations should work together for freedom of press in the country.

Dr Mujahid Mansoori said that Pakistani media had limited freedom but people could not take advantage of the limited autonomy of the press. Hamid Mir said Pakistani media faced restrictions in the name of national interest and patriotism. He said that an independent press in Pakistan could also lead to economic development of the country. He said that if the Journalists Protection Bill was not passed by the National Assembly in 2021, Pakistan could lose its GSP Plus status and 40 per cent of its textile industry could face exports to Europe.

He said that the elements who were delaying the passage of the Journalist Protection Bill were in fact weakening Pakistan. He said that freedom of press is in the best interest of the state and democracy. He said that media freedom should be enjoyed responsibly. Unnecessary restrictions on the internet could hurt foreign investment in Pakistan, he said. He said that journalists and media organizations in India and Bangladesh were facing threats and dangers while fulfilling their responsibilities. He said that attacks on journalists in Pakistan have increased by 40%.

Salman Ghani said that when politicians were in the opposition, they supported the freedom of the media, but when they came to power, they changed their mindset regarding the freedom of the press. He said that Pakistani media organizations were working under immense pressure. He said that Pakistani media should protect national interest, respect state institutions and highlight human rights and other issues. He said that Pakistani journalists sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Dr. Saleem Mazhar said that Pakistani journalists played a key role in making Pakistan important in the Muslim world. Irshad Ansari said that Pakistan has been declared a dangerous place for journalists. He said that journalism in Pakistan has been attacked many times in 1947. He said that many restrictions have been imposed on journalists and now their own social media channels are also facing blockade.

Rana Azeem said that journalists who speak, write and reveal the truth face bullets and restrictions. He said that 4,113 journalists have lost their jobs during this government. He called on PFUJ, PUJ, APNS, PBA, CPNE, press clubs and other journalists’ organizations to unite for media freedom in the country. Dr. Noshina Saleem thanked the participants and said that an independent press could play an important role in the socio-economic development of the country.