ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar titled, “The Challenges of Freedom of Expression in Up-Coming General Elections 2018”, said that Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) should arrange international level conferences on freedom of expression to create awareness about freedom of expression among the masses.
Speaking on the occasion they stressed enhancing awareness about freedom of expression at the provincial and regional levels among masses. The seminar was organised by RIUJ at National Press Club.
They said that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to promote the freedom of expression in the country for the strengthening of democracy and protection of public rights. They said that nowadays media is facing so many challenges in this regard and urged that all political parties should include freedom of expression and protection of journalists in their party manifestos.
Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Fazalur Rehman said that politics, journalism and democracy are connected with each other and strong democracy is impossible without free media.
Senior leader Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said that such conferences and seminars would help create awareness among the masses, which is the major responsibility of all stakeholders.
He said that already the constitution provided protection to freedom of speech in Article 19, but there is lack of true implementation as these laws were used by the powerful for their own vested interests. Pervaiz Rasheed said that the main problem is freedom of democracy in the country.
He said it is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to work together for the freedom of democracy, while adding that without a strong democratic system, freedom of expression would not be possible.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Senator Shibli Faraz said that media should follow the code of ethics and discourage the news which lacks a strong source.
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar appreciated the efforts of RIUJ for arranging the conference and hoped that such seminars should also be held at the local level to spread awareness among the public even in the remote areas of the country.
He strongly condemned the kidnapping of women journalist and termed it a shameful act. Farhat said that now social media is under attack, adding that it is important to bring amendments in the contempt of court provision and cybercrimes law. Senior journalists and anchors, including Hamid Mir, Mubarak Zeb, Afzal Butt and Tariq Chaudhry, also addressed the participants.