KARACHI: Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) expressed grave concern on Wednesday over the treason case against journalist Cyril Almeida and the move to put him on the Exit Control List (ECL).
In a joint statement issued by CPNE President Arif Nizami, Senior Vice President Imtinan Shahid and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak, the council expressed reservations over the upheaval of establishing treason cases and putting names of journalists in the ECL on the basis of performing professional journalistic duties.
They emphasised the need to respect media freedom by all state and non-state institutions as freedom of media is inevitable to strengthen democratic culture.
They added that the CPNE, being the sole representative of the editors’ community in the country, understand that freedom of expression has been guaranteed in the constitution and it is not a proper move to prosecute any journalist for interviewing a former prime minister. It is not a crime to perform journalistic duty, the statement added.
The CPNE leaders commented that one-sided action and cases against any journalist due to the process of conducting journalistic duties negates the basic human rights and media freedom guaranteed to the citizens by the constitution. It said that such actions tantamount to eliminating media freedom.
They said that accepting the responsibility of the publication according to its research is in line with professional journalistic principles. Therefore, they further added, it is expected that the name of Almeida will be removed from the ECL in respect of constitution and law.