ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, while announcing her party’s support to journalists’ long march, Wednesday said that her party would also stand with the journalists’ community for protection of their rights and freedom of press.
Addressing the National Journalists Convention organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) here Wednesday, she said the brutal and incompetent PTI government was raising issues of Media Development Authority only to hide its criminal acts.
Maryam said the government was using such tactics against the media which it was applying on judges to get verdicts of their own liking. While ridiculing advice to media regarding positive reporting, she questioned whether the incompetent prime minister wanted the media to report that sugar is available for Rs50 instead of Rs150/kg. She questioned that whether writing eulogies on government working was positive reporting. “How much the Press could lie,” she said, adding that everything has become crystal clear.
The PMLN leader said all journalists were heroes who were performing their professional duties while putting at stake their lives. “Pen of journalists has such a power that they can change destiny of the nation,” she added.
Maryam Nawaz said that today Journalists are kidnapped and killed for telling the truth. She said if politicians received bullets, journalists also faced brutal acts.
Stressing on freedom of press, the PMLN leader observed that it is said that freedom in a country could be gauged from the Freedom of the Press in that part of the world. Condemning attacks and kidnapping of journalists, the PMLN leader said video cameras of Safe City Islamabad also stop operating when any media man is attacked. She noted that neither anybody can name those who use journalists nor they are seen by any person. “Those who name them are dubbed traitors and those who raise voice for rights of Balochistan are declared Indian agents,” she said.
She observed that it was due to incompetence of the incumbent government that like in other sectors, the journalists have also been rendered jobless. Maryam pointed out bulldozed legislation in joint sitting of the Parliament was dark chapter of country’s history particularly when the treasury members themselves were saying that they were forced to attend proceedings by force. The same members, she said, were also saying that they could not face their voters due to price hike, unemployment and lawlessness in the country. She also regretted that appointments in key institutions were also being made as controversial and so much so the PTI-led government attempted to stop a crucial posting. She said that the government wanted to do everything before November 20.
Maryam said whosoever is powerful, always tries to suppress voice of truth saying that Pakistan is considered among six most dangerous countries for journalists.
The newly elected President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Ahsan Bhon also affirmed lawyers support to the journalist community.
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice President Khushdil Khan said that the present government was a reflection of Zia regime. He said that you even get punished for telling the truth, as there was no democracy, but civil martial law in the country. He said that the legal fraternity and Awami National Party were standing by the journalist community.
PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar said they would announce schedule of long march after 15 days. The long march starting from Quetta will end in Islamabad. He said that they would continue struggle for media workers. He said that many journalists were used against them, and that civil society and lawyers were standing by them. PFUJ’s Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said despite having all laws, the government was imposing a new media regulatory authority, adding, he knows which powers were behind such black laws.
He said that it was encouraging that now every Pakistani is cognizant of the things in the country. Later, the PFUJ secretary general recited the ‘Charter of Freedom of Speech’ and all participants raised their hands in its favour.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s ex-MNA Ms Aisha Syed said the JI would always stand by journalists for protection their rights.
Asma Shirazi said those holding pen should continue their struggle. "Today both bullet and abusive language is being used suppressed our voice while anchorpersons and news editor are being removed," she said. Senior journalist Hamid Mir something happens with journalist who do not take dictation.
He said the journalist community was facing many problems but freedom of media was the biggest issue.
President Pakistan Watan Party Yub Malik, Secretary General Human Rights Commission Harris Khaliq, senior journalists Afzal Butt, Saleem Safi and RIUJ President Aamir Sajjad Syed also spoke on the occasion. Maryam Nawaz was accompanied by Ex Federal Minister Parvaiz Rashid.
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