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World Press Freedom Day: ‘PPP always supports freedom of expression’

By Our Correspondent
May 03, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the dictatorial thinking always looks for an opportunity to derail the democracy in Pakistan and the same approach is always ready to gag the freedom of the press.

“The restrictions on freedom of media weaken democracy and also cause disharmony and chaos in the society,” he said while on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day being observed on May 3 across the globe.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said for strengthening and stability of democracy in the country, the natural alliance between PPP and journalism has always been evergreen and strong. “Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari during their tenures abolished the draconian laws imposed on the press by the dictators and gave full freedom to the press,” he pointed out.

The PPP chairman said that despite PPP and its leadership being subjected to the worst media trials, they have never been a victim of expediency regarding freedom of expression and press, adding that the Party, whether in the government or in the opposition, has always taken a firm stand regarding the freedom of the press and the protection and rights of journalists. “We believe in further expansion and consistent implementation of the Right to Information laws,” he added.

Bilawal reiterated his commitment that his party will continue to play its leadership role in protecting media freedom and journalists’ rights in Pakistan, and continue taking every possible step to create an ideal environment for press freedom in the country by promoting the media literacy among the people.

Bilawal strongly condemned India’s restrictions on press in Occupied Kashmir and emphasised that the international community, including journalist bodies, organisations and individuals working for the right to freedom of expression, must play their role against brutality being carried out against journalists in the occupied valley. “Every year one day should be observed as solidarity with the journalists of Occupied Kashmir,” he appealed.

In the meanwhile, former president and President PPP Parliamentarians, Asif Ali Zardari in his message on the eve of the World Press Freedom Day has said that the PPP will continue to support the freedom of press.

Zardari said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a supporter of freedom of expression. “He taught the common people how to voice their views by giving them political consciousness,” he said. He said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto freed the print media from the paper quota because in the past, governments used the paper quota as a weapon to restrict the freedom of the press.

The former president paid tribute to the heroes of press freedom who were flogged and imprisoned during the martial law era.

Zardari said that today the means of spreading information continue to progress through technological advancements. He said that the 1973 Constitution protects the freedom of expression.