The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in condemning restrictions on media reporting of a provincial election as a worrying block on freedom of the press in Pakistan.
On March 4, the Speaker of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) Assembly barred journalists and media, including State-run Pakistan Television, entering the Assembly to report on a local Senate election.
The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, said the ban may be intended to avoid a repeat of the journalistic reporting that exposed foul play during voting in the 2008 Presidential elections.
The PFUJ and its affiliate, the Khyber Union of Journalists, were also concerned that while the Speaker and the ruling NWFP coalition comprising the Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party were responsible for the decision, the opposition did not protest the ban.
“Political parties and governing authorities at all levels must understand that freedom of the press includes the freedom to report on elections in the public interest,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ calls on all parties to recognise that bans of this kind undermine democratic principles, and therefore must be overturned.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide