Monday Nov 02 2020
Web Desk

PFUJ, FN call for legislation to end impunity for crimes against journalists

Web Desk
The mics of several Pakistani media outlets can be seen in this photo. — Facebook/Shere Azam/Files

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Freedom Network on Monday called on the federal government to start legislation for the protection of journalists.

The demand came as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and Media was being observed globally, including Pakistan, on 2 November.

“As Pakistan remains among the top 10 countries where predators of attacks on journalists and media go unpunished, we demand urgent legislation to protect journalists and reverse the current situation affecting Freedom of Expression negatively,” PFUJ and FN said in a joint statement issued on Monday.

No one was punished through the court of law for crimes against journalists in Pakistan so far, they said. “Thus, Pakistan is among the few countries where impunity for crimes against journalists is taking deep roots. Independent and professional journalism is not possible in such an environment of fears.”

“We cannot afford any further delay in doing legislation,” the two organisations reminded the federal government, asking the cabinet to quickly approve the draft law on journalists' protection which Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari had prepared after consultation with stakeholders.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed November 2 as the "International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists" in its General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163.

The Resolution urges UN member states to implement definite measures countering the present culture where crimes against journalists are committed with impunity.

In Pakistan, over 130 journalists were killed since 2002 and not even a single one was punished, encouraging total impunity for murderers, the statement read.

Besides fatal attacks, journalists face other categories of threats such as physical attacks, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, and torture.

Harassment and other harmful acts are increasingly prevalent in the online sphere and are especially dire for women journalists, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) spearheading a campaign for impunity for crimes against journalists said to mark the occasion.