The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged Imran Khan, the leader of one of Pakistan’s opposition parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), to stop attacks against journalists during the PTI demonstrations against the government.
In a letter to the politician, the IFJ Asia Pacific expressed serious concerns over the ongoing and repeated incidents of violence and abuses against journalists and media workers in Pakistan – in particular surrounding the political demonstrations organized by Khan’s party.
Listing a few recent incidents of harassments and attacks on journalists, the IFJ has asked Khan to offer an unconditional public apology and to cease making statements that are further inflaming the attacks.
The letter referred to an ealier letter written to him, along with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) party, on September 2, and his promises to stop such incidents with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
“Given the seriousness of the latest attacks including an apparent escalation at attacks directed at female journalists, the IFJ is concerned these statements by you appear to be hollow promises and that political thugs are continuing this onslaught to silence the media,” the letter stated.
Jane Worthington, the acting director of IFJ Asia Pacific, wrote in the letter: “Given your respected global political standing on democracy, the IFJ and its affiliates expect democratic leaders to be the influencers of opinion on the vital role of the media and the principles of freedom of expression. Democracy cannot prosper without a vibrant media to give platform to pluralistic opinions.”
It further stated: “We are astutely aware that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for media and that journalists are endeavoring to fulfil their responsibilities under the some of the most hostile working conditions in the world. At this time, when they continue to bear attacks from unknown groups and myriad forces, it is deeply worrying that even responsible political parties, such as PTI, are playing a role in exacerbating that volatile environment.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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