Reporters and journalist associations commemorated the World Press Freedom Day on Thursday demanding for greater press freedom and security.
A rally organised by the Punjab Union of Journalists and the Lahore Press Club started from the press club and ended near the Punjab Assembly where a candle light vigil was organised. The protestors condemned politically motivated attacks on the media and demanded that the press be allowed to carry out its duties without any pressure.
Dozens of reporters participated in a vigil organised by the Electronic Media Reporters Association (EMRA) at Liberty Chowk. The vigil was also attended by members of various political parties and media agencies. EMRA president Tanveer Shahzad said journalists in Pakistan faced critically challenging situations while reporting and the state should work to protect the journalists.
Pictures of journalists, including Saleem Shahzad, Mukarram Khan, Wali Babar, Moosa Khan and Sirajuddin, who had been killed recently were also displayed at the vigil. Shumaila Rana said journalism was the fourth pillar of the state. Jamaat-i-Islami leader Fareed Paracha paid a tribute to the journalists who had laid down their lives, calling them “warriors with the pen”.
Asim Naseer, general secretary of EMRA, told The Express Tribune that with an annual increase in the number of reporters being killed in Pakistan, the situation was very grim.
“With journalists facing pressures especially in political beats, it has become immensely difficult to do justice to reporting,” he said. Naseer said not only press freedom was being curtailed but also lives of journalists were at risk.
“We stand in solidarity with journalists in the cause of free journalism,” said MPA Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.
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