PM renews govt pledge for freedom of expression

The Nation  |  Dec 07, 2022

 PM renews govt pledge for freedom of expression
ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed the strong resolve of the government’s to en­sure freedom of speech and expression and protection of the jour­nalists in Pakistan.

Addressing an event organized by Islamabad Journalist Safety Forum on the theme of the UN ten years Plan of Action on Tuesday, the prime minister said his government believes that the freedom of ex­pression is sacrosanct and will remain at the heart of the dem­ocratic process.

PM Shehbaz noted that free media and freedom of speech are strong pillars of democra­cy; there can be no democracy without freedom of expression.

The prime minister said his government would be part of ef­forts aimed at making Pakistani democracy stronger through greater free media. Shehbaz Sharif pointed out that Paki­stan became the first country in Asia to pass an act of the parlia­ment on the safety of journalists at the federal and the provincial level in Sindh province.

PM vows to promote principles of freedom of expression, free media

He said the government will continue to support the ongo­ing efforts in Punjab, Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa and Balochistan to legislate on the safety of jour­nalists. Shehbaz Sharif said the parliament passed a landmark Protection of Journalists and Media Professional Act after thorough consultations with all the stakeholders. He said this act recognises the rights of jour­nalists and seeks to protect me­dia persons from all kinds of ill treatment and aggression. He assured the full implementation of this legislation.

Shehbaz Sharif said his gov­ernment believes that no jour­nalists should be called out or attacked for exercising their freedom of expression as guar­anteed under the Constitution of Pakistan.

Referring to the murder of se­nior Journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya, Shehbaz Sharif said he has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to constitute a commission to investigate the murder and hoped some action will be taken in this regard.

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Speaking on the occasion, Am­bassador of France Nicolas Ga­ley was appreciative of the leg­islation passed by Pakistani parliament for protection of journalists. He said this is a ma­jor step forward. He said his em­bassy will continue to promote media exchanges between Paki­stan and France.

Norway’s Ambassador to Pa­kistan Per Albert Ilsaas said the global community must ensure a safe environment for journal­ists both online and offline.

He said the Protection of Jour­nalist and Media Professional Act by Pakistan is a major step towards ensuring the safety of journalists and media prac­titioners and protecting them from violence and harassment.

Danish Ambassador to Paki­stan Jakob Linulf said his coun­try backs community journal­ism in Pakistan.

He said our support goes to a growing ecosystem of me­dia start-ups in the country. He said we recently arranged a visit of Pakistani journalists to Den­mark to enhance their capacity to report on climate change.

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Meanwhile, the prime minis­ter welcomed the suo moto no­tice taken by the Supreme Court on the killing of prominent jour­nalist Arshad Sharif.

He assured that the govern­ment would extend full cooper­ation to the court. 

“I welcome Supreme Court taking suomoto notice of the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif,” he said in a Twitter post.

Shehbaz Sharif mentioned that he had already written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pa­kistan for setting up a judicial commission to probe the mur­der. The Supreme Court on Tuesday headed by Chief Jus­tice of Pakistan Umar Ata Ban­dial directed the government to register a first information re­port (FIR) by tonight

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