UK minister says media freedom cannot be curbed

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LONDON: Britain’s Secretary of the State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith has said that freedom of the press is fundamentally important to protect all kinds of freedoms and no government or authority shall be allowed to take away these freedoms under any excuse or pretext.

The senior Tory leader and UK government figure said this during the annual Milad conference and awards ceremony here organised by Pir Alauddin Siddiqui.Speaking about attack on Geo anchor Hamid Mir and attacks on Jang Group and Geo across the cities of Pakistan by the dubious forces and moves by the Defence Ministry seeking ban on Geo TV, the Works and Pensions Secretary said that media freedoms cannot be taken away in this day and age.

“Without hesitation, I believe in the freedom of speech and freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of worship. Without the freedom of the press, you cannot have freedom of speech.”

With reference to the attack on Hamid Mir, the ruling party parliamentarian said that Britain believed in defending those who speak out against the powerful. He said that in the absence of brave and investigative journalists such as Hamid Mir “who will support the weak against the powerful?”

The Conservative parliamentarian said that the press must be free to report what’s in public interest. He said that those who threaten media freedoms actually threaten everybody because they are very scared of media independence and they do so because they want to take away the ability of the media to report freely and independently. Ian Duncan Smith added: “You cannot, without the freedom of the press, have all those freedoms, the freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I am for free press and anyone who threatens the free press is the enemy of human freedoms.”

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