World Press Freedom Day: SAFMA condemns police for assaulting journalists
* Supports Nepalese journalists for their struggle for free press
LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar, arranged by South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) at the Nisar Usmani Auditorium of the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday, expressed solidarity with Nepalese journalists struggling for the freedom of press.
They condemned the Lahore police for assaulting journalists in a rally taken out from the Punjab Union of Journalists’ office at Diyal Singh Mansion on The Mall to the Lahore Press Club to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3. They also condemned the Islamabad police for assaulting journalists.
Addressing the seminar, Imtiaz Alam, SAFMA secretary general, said that the Nepalese media had opposed the state of emergency declared by the king since February 1. He said that the state of emergency had been lifted because of the struggle of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, but fundamental rights and civil liberties had not been restored.
He called for a repeal of press laws in South Asian countries. He said that seven ordinances related to the press had been introduced in Pakistan. The SAFMA secretary general said that the association had proposed amendments to the ordinances, but they were not considered. He said that they would continue their struggle to review press laws in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He said that the role of editors had almost finished in newspapers and owners had assumed editorship in several newspapers. He said that fighting for the freedom of press was not only the duty of journalists but of all citizens, including politicians and lawyers.
He condemned the Lahore police for assaulting journalists and lamented that the government had not taken notice of the “atrocities being committed against journalists”. IA Rehman, a Human Right Commission of Pakistan official, called for a study to ascertain why the graph of rash policing against journalists was going up. “How can the government allow journalists to take out processions for the freedom of the press when people aren’t given the right to protest inflation and unemployment,” he said.
He congratulated SAFMA for arranging the seminar to express solidarity with Nepalese journalists.
Journalists Hussain Naqi, Nawaz Tahir, Jalil Hasan Raja, Arshad Ansari and Noman Yawar spoke at the seminar. They said that they would continue the struggle for the implementation of the 7th Wage Board Award.