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EU involved over state of freedom of press in Pakistan

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The European Union (EU) has expressed deep concern over the dearth of freedom of the press and violence in opposition to journalists in Pakistan.

The EU stated it’s involved in regards to the regularly reported instances of violence, intimidation, abduction, and killing of journalists in Pakistan. 

Over the previous couple of years, restrictions on media in Pakistan have grown and backtracking by the federal government on this space is having a detrimental affect on the general local weather of freedom of expression in Pakistan. Such acts are additionally reflecting negatively on Pakistan’s picture overseas. 

The EU can also be involved about widespread and systematic harassment on-line, particularly of feminine journalists, by means of coordinated campaigns that embody abusive language and threats of violence.

The Union stated it actively advocates the significance of the liberty of expression and the necessity for defense of journalists world wide, together with these in Pakistan. 

Within the fifth EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue with International Minister Qureshi on November 3, 2020, HR/VP Josep Borrell reiterated considerations over the state of freedom of expression and the press in Pakistan. 

The European Union Exterior Motion (EEAS) has an everyday dialogue on human rights with the Pakistani authorities, the place the problems of freedom of expression and media are vital factors on the agenda. 

Learn extra: World Press Freedom Day being noticed right this moment

The discussion board additionally expressed concern in regards to the current assault on Absar Alam, a senior journalist in Pakistan. 

These type of assaults threaten Pakistani residents’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of media, and underline the significance of sufficient safety of journalists and their work, stated the EU.

In the meantime, the Council of Europe Secretary Common Marija Pejčinović Burić urged European governments to point out stronger political will to guard journalists and impartial journalism to be able to put a cease to the deterioration of media freedom.

“Media freedom is a vital pillar of our democracies which is simply too usually taken without any consideration. Respect for freedom of the media is in decline in lots of international locations. Within the final [couple of ] years, we’ve got witnessed a rise within the variety of instances of violence and intimidation in opposition to journalists,” she said. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a strong rise in reports of violence against journalists as well as censorship and reprisals for questioning government policies in many countries of the world. At the same time, media houses have also been facing serious economic challenges and many journalists have lost their jobs due to the adverse economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Council of Europe stands ready to support its member states to create and promote an environment where plural, diverse and independent media can perform their role and contribute to making our democracies more robust, said Burić. 

The secretary-general also expressed concern at the findings of the annual report of the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists.

The annual report of the Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists, released today by 14 international media freedom organisations, lists 201 serious cases of threats to media freedom in the 47 Council of Europe member states in 2020, a 40% increase compared to 2019. 

A record number of alerts concerned physical attacks (52 cases) and harassment or intimidation (70 cases).

Learn extra: World Press Freedom Day: Bilawal Bhutto requires lifting curbs on media

The report analyses critical threats to press freedom together with these posed by the impunity of crimes in opposition to journalists – with 24 instances of impunity for the killing of journalists nonetheless pending, the state seize of impartial media, judicial harassment, political strain on public service media, and surveillance of journalists.

The report underlines particular threats to media freedom in 2020, the extraordinary restrictions imposed on journalists’ actions by emergency legal guidelines and laws in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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