Govt. believes in freedom of expression, media independence: Spokesperson

Govt. believes in freedom of expression, media independence: Spokesperson

Govt. believes in freedom of expression, media independence: SpokespersonISLAMABAD, July 6 (APP): Strongly rebutting a recent report of Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), a spokesperson Tuesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government believed in the freedom of expression and media independence.

In a press statement, the government’s spokesperson said it was evident from the unanimous approval of the Journalist Protection Bill by the Cabinet which would go a long way in ensuring the safety and security of the journalist community.

“Apropos RSF’s 2021 “Press freedom predators” report, published by Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) on July 2nd and updated July 5th, 2021, is vehemently rebutted,” the spokesperson said.

The statement said it was quite surprising that RSF jumped to the conclusion that media in Pakistan was under “increasingly draconian censorship measures by Khan’s government”, despite the fact that the current government had been taking all possible measures to create a congenial environment for journalists to perform their professional obligations.

“The fact of the matter is that Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape. The liberal media policy of the government has resulted in exponential media growth. The country has 43 international media channels, 112 private TV channels, 258 FM channels and 1569 publications. The size of the media speaks volumes about the robustness of the media in Pakistan,” it was added.

“Contrary to the RSF’s report the government does not believe in issuing press advice. Rather, it encourages self-regulation by the media,” it was stressed.

The spokesperson said the constitution of Pakistan itself guaranteed the freedom of expression through Article 19 and 19-A. In addition to this, the federal government promulgated the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 which ensured that every citizen would have the right of access to information in all matters of public importance.

“Furthermore, the reference to the “deep state” is misplaced. All the institutions of Pakistan are working in cohesion and at the same time guarding their own independence and autonomy. As far as the Prime Minister of Pakistan is concerned, he is the elected head of government and has the resounding support of the people of Pakistan. The level of criticism that is faced by the government and the military is unheard of even in the developed world,” it was added.

The statement further said the insinuation that journalists choose to live abroad due to security reasons and that they have been subjected to intimidation and attacks even in the countries where they choose to live, was nothing but ludicrous.

“Is the security of people outside Pakistan, also a responsibility of the Pakistani government?” it was added

The spokesperson said that the claim that troll armies harassed and vilified all journalists and bloggers who criticized the ruling government, was far from the truth.

“The fact of the matter is that the government uses fake news busters to tackle misinformation/ disinformation in order to quash fake news. This practice is in complete consonance with the universal ethics of responsible journalism,” it was further added.

According the statement, there had been several instances in which unverified news about Pakistan made it to the headlines in foreign print and electronic media, causing significantly irreparable damage to the repute of the country.

Case in point is the recent news story published in a well-known British newspaper about the sexual assault of a young woman of Pakistan origin, after returning from the UK, to attend her father’s funeral.

The police investigation confirmed later that she had never traveled to the UK and the reported accused was actually her husband.

The spokesperson said it appeared that RSF’s report ‘is an attempt to malign the elected representative of the people of Pakistan, without any corroborative evidence’. It was hoped that in future the RSF would avoid such irresponsible journalism.




By Irfan Khan

Journalist with a baggage of 25 years of experience in national, political, judicial, constitutional and international affairs. Extensively covered events, developing news and happenings with pieces of articles and analysis.

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