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Over 100 women journalists, allies stand for Hamid Mir

Hamid Mir.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: A group of 147 women journalists and allies have released a public statement condemning the removal of Hamid Mir from the airwaves, demanding the government take appropriate measures to ensure that media does not have to face such immense pressures for merely doing its job.

According to statement: “The journalists are deeply disturbed with the decision to remove Hamid Mir from his flagship show Capital Talk, a mere 72 hours after he spoke at a protest organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Friday, May 28 in condemnation of the attack on Asad Ali Toor, who was brutally tortured in his home on May 25. It goes on to express alarm at “the sharp escalation of direct, indirect and covert actions against journalists, which are having a detrimental and silencing effect on news media in Pakistan.”

Expressing support for Hamid Mir and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the statement reiterates the union's demand that “journalists must be allowed to perform their work independently and without intimidation; they must be protected from attacks in reprisal for their work; and perpetrators of attacks on journalists, including those who assaulted Toor, must be held accountable”.

The statement expressed concern that the decision to remove Hamid Mir from airwaves, while he also faces a continuous hate campaign online, can “create a damaging cascading effect, effectively intimidating others who stand up against continued attacks on media to self-censor or to be pressured into silence by their employers”. “We called upon fellow journalists, press clubs, media houses, and trade unions to form a united front to call for Mir’s reinstatement and to ensure that no other media worker is temporarily or permanently removed from their professional duties without due process”.

The women journalists’ statement takes note of the increasingly regressive approach to media and demands “that the federal and provincial governments take immediate notice of attacks on journalists, bring the perpetrators to justice, and make their investigation reports public”. The statement comes at a time when media and journalists bodies and allies like Journalist Defense Committee and Supreme Court Bar Association are also publicly condemning different incidents of intimidation, attacks and regulatory threats to media.

After the statement was drafted, a frivolous lawsuit was also initiated against Hamid Mir and senior journalist Asma Shirazi. “The organisers of the petition also stand with Asma Shirazi and strongly condemn the use of such tactics to use law as a way to intimidate journalists into silence,” the statement maintained.