The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (Amend) has expressed serious concern over the “undeclared press censorship” as well as the disappearance of journalists and “increasing pressure” being mounted through “unwarranted interference of government and state institutions” in the working of the Pakistani media.
An emergency session of Amends’ executive committee was held to discuss the challenges being faced by the media, especially the country’s television channels, the association said in a statement.
The committee members deplored the level of censorship being imposed by the government and other state institutions.
“Pressure is being exerted on media to restrict the public’s right to truth and to present a one-sided reflection of events. In such circumstances, independent and unbiased reporting to present the people with facts is being curtailed,” the statement said.
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Amend demanded that Imran Riaz Khan and other missing journalists be proceeded against as per the law, which includes their right to legal defence, if they have committed a crime.
“It is extremely disturbing that these individuals were picked up and no state agency is taking ownership of these incidents. Prime Minister of Pakistan (Shehbaz Sharif) must take notice of the disappearance of these journalists and take action so they may be traced as soon as possible.”
The committee members resolved that despite all the “strong-arming and pressure tactics”, they would not remain silent spectators and instead take practical steps, including consultations with other journalist bodies, for which permission was explicitly granted in the meeting.
The body decided to write to PM Shehbaz, political parties’ leaders, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman, the federal government, the INter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), and human rights and international journalists’ organisations to apprise them of the situation.
Source: The Express Tribune
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