Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has demanded Prime Minister Imran to explain his position on freedom of speech in the wake of his Special Assistant on Information Shehbaz Gill’s statement over the issue.
The journalists’ body expressed grave concerns over the statement of Gill in which he openly announced that the PTI government would control all the current affairs’ programmes on news TV channels and would even finalise the list of guests, says a press release.
Terming it a fascist tendency, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, in a statement, strongly condemned the statement, demanding the Prime Minister Imran to clarify his position The two leaders of the union said that freedom of press and freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that is guaranteed by the Constitution. “In addition to that Pakistan is a signatory of international treaties and conventions on press freedom and freedom of expression. We would like to know if the prime minister will adhere to such treaties or not,” said the statement.
Zulfiqar and Zaidi observed since PTI came into power, the media has been under a tremendous pressure. “There has been a phenomenal surge in the incidents of editorial dictations, censorship, press advice, arm twisting of journalists, content control and use of advertisement as a tool of blackmailing media houses.
The union leaders said on the one hand the government asks Pakistanis to improve the image of the country. “But elements like Mr Gill are doing no service to the country by hurling veiled threats at media persons by openly expressing the government’s intention of muzzling the media. Such acts will only tarnish the image of the Islamic Republic.”