PPF raise voices to end Press freedom violations

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PPF raise voices to end Press freedom violations

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is concerned over the killings of media workers including journalist, ill treatment with a journalist, violation of media rights and freedom of expression in Afghanistan, Mexico, Egypt, Malaysia and Ukraine.

On May 24, 2017, PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in a letter to Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, expressed serious concern over the killing of four media workers in the terrorist attack on the National Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) Afghan state Television station in Jalal Abad, capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

The terrorist group (ISIS/Daesh) claimed responsibility for the attack via its pseudo-news agency, Amaq. AFJC’s record shows that the killing the RTA staff brought to more than 72 the number of journalists and media workers killed in Afghanistan since falling of the Taliban regime in 2001. In 2016, with 13 killings makes the deadliest year for media community in Afghanistan.

On May 23, 2017 PPF secretary general in a letter to Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, is alarmed over the killing of Javier Valdez Cárdenas on May 15, in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state.

Ali urged the government of Mexico, to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring to justice, the perpetrators of this brutal act and reinforce its commitment to media safety and freedom by ending the culture of impunity.

According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Valdez was shot near the offices of Ríodoce, the local weekly he founded in 2003. He covered drug trafficking and crimes and wrote a number of books about the drug trade. Valdez had told CPJ in the weeks before his murder that he was concerned for his safety.

On May 22, 2017 in his letter to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Ali expressed concern over the denial of visitation to journalist Badr Mohamed Badr in Tora Prison, by his lawyer and family even for medical treatment and urged the Egyptiangovernment to respect the rights of Badr to meet his family and lawyer and, right of prisoners to receive health care facilities.

According to Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Badr has been suffering from liver and heart diseases in addition to breathing problems since his arrest, but authorities have not permitted visitations even for his treatment that has put his life in danger.

Police had arrested Badr after storming his office in Faisal neighborhood in Giza, On 29 March 2017. Supreme State Security Prosecution interrogated him into the case no. 316 of 2017 (State Security), accused him of joining an unlawful group, and ordered his pretrial detention, which is being renewed until now.

On May 22, 2017, Ali in a letter to Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak expressed serious concern that the trial of Malaysiakini Chief Executive Officer, PremeshChandran on May 15 over the airing of an allegedly ‘offensive’ video on KiniTV website and demanded Malaysian government, immediately drop all the charges and stop harassing media practitioners including journalists, rather than engaging in censorship.

Premesh had been charged under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for airing a press conference held on 27 July, 2016 by Khairuddin, a former politician in which he demanded the resignation of Attorney-General Apandi Ali for the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case which has drawn international investigations.

Media coverage and public criticism on the 1MDB case have been censored, blocked or fall into criminal charges.

On May 24, 2017, Ali in a letter to Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine, expressed concern over blocking to access in Ukraine to some of Russia’s most popular websites and social media sites including Yandex, Mail.ru, VKontakte and Odnoclassniki.

PPF Secretary General termed the blanket blocking of popular websites inside the Ukraine as an unjustifiable restriction on free expression and urged the Ukrainian government to allow access to information without any hindrance. After Presidential Decree 133 may came into force on May 15, 2017, Ukrainian internet service providers will be required to block access to these sites for a period of three years.

The new decree also blocks a number of Russian television channels and the sites of Russian antivirus providers, Kaspersky Laboratory and DrWeb.