ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Monday called upon All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council for Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) and Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association (PBA) to extend their support to protest sit-in to be staged in front of the Parliament House on December 8 against non-provision of security to the media houses by the incumbent government.
In a letter sent to APNS, CPNE and PBA, PFUJ President Afzal Butt urged to thoroughly denounce blatant attacks on media establishments, crimes against journalists and threats to free media in the country.
“In 2015 alone, as many as eight media workers have been targeted and shot; six of them lost their lives. In past couple of months alone, two media houses have been raided; attacked with grenades. Others are operating under serious threats,” the letter said.It further stated that despite numerous commitments and promises the federal government has miserably failed to provide an enabling environment for an independent media in Pakistan.
The letter underlined the fact that in the past five years, Pakistan has been dubbed as ‘the most dangerous country for practicing journalism’ by at least three credible international media watchdogs.
Since year 2000, 111 journalists and media workers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Statistically speaking, a journalist has died every 48 days in Pakistan for the past 15 years.
It said: “To protest against this new wave of targeted attacks on media houses and the workers, PFUJ is staging a demonstration and a sit-in, in front of the Parliament House starting from 8th of December, 2015.”
The primary objectives of the protest sit-in include provision of safety for journalists and media houses; arrest of perpetrators involved in crimes against media and journalists; and establishment of special prosecutors at both federal and provincial level to pursue the cases of slain journalists.
PFUJ along with some civil society groups has been leading the struggle to secure safe environment for journalists. However, the recent attacks have proved that the battle for the freedom of media and expression is far from over.
The letter stated “Join us from 8th of December, in front of the Parliament House to demand the right of justice for our slain colleagues and security for the media workers.”