LAHORE: A session on ‘Electronic and Print Media (Freedom of Expression) in Pakistan’ on the first day of the Asma Jahangir Conference on Saturday started with a minute’s silence for the denial of entry to Pakistan to Committee to Protect Journalists Asia Programme Coordinator Steve Butler.
Mr Butler, however joined the session he was supposed to speak in personally via Skype. Speaking from Washington, he said press freedom was enshrined in Pakistan’s constitution and his expulsion will not affect his reporting of the country.
The session was moderated by Amber Rahim Shamsi and included journalists Owen Bennett-Jones, Christina Lamb, Shahidul Alam, Cyril Almeida and Hamid Mir.
Mr Alam from Bangladesh said it was time for journalists to self-examine, as private media in South Asia had become a mouthpiece for the government. “There are staggering similarities across the subcontinent regarding attacks on press freedoms,” he said, adding that he was always in a state of resistance. “When I got out on bail, the idea was to silence me, but I will not be silenced. We have a regime that is elected, but we cannot even question them. The best resistance is to practice solid, fact-based journalism.”