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Rasheed Khalid

The News

Published Date: Jun 7, 2011


Calling the killing of Saleem Shahzad a serious issue as being the 74th in line, Pervaiz Shaukat, the President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), has asked the government, the chief of the Army staff and the ISI DG to take up this growing concern at the highest level and intervene to stop such kind of threats against journalists.

The PFUJ president was speaking at a seminar on “Mortal threat to journalists: the price of writing truth in Pakistan”, organised by the SDPI here on Monday. Shafqat Munir, Policy Adviser of the institute, was in the chair.

Shaukat Pervez said there is a serious need to form a Press Complaints Commission on permanent basis to handle any complaints about any unethical journalistic practices. He said since we have set a deadline of June 10 for setting up a commission; otherwise, we will undergo countrywide protests from June 15.

He said that the ISI, IB or establishment are not the only source of worry for journalists’ community in Pakistan, but there are also CIA, MI-6, MOSSAD, RAW, Taliban, ethnic militant bodies and drug lords that pressurise and threaten media. He expressed his indignation that camera and technical equipment is insured in Pakistan but the journalists are not. He asked media owners “to come forward for protecting the journalists and take necessary measures like insurance and training journalists on how to ensure their personal security which is their prime responsibility.”

He said that 35 journalists bodies that met in Beirut recently decided to write a letter to Pakistani authorities about security threats to journalist in Pakistan and vowed to support the PFUJ in holding worldwide protest.

Shafqat Munir said both journalist community and agencies should adopt professional ethics to carry out their duties as per rule of law, standard legal practices and procedures. Lamenting frequent killings and torturing of journalists, he said that the intelligence agencies should enhance their tolerance level and do not unilaterally declare journalists as agents of enemies. He said that journalists should also adopt professional standards in writing stories by covering all shades and points of view.

Umer Cheema, the special investigative correspondent, The News, giving details of his ordeal of abduction and torture, said the conviction of speaking the truth has become his strength now “amid environment of constant physical and psychological harassment, sense of insecurity, including life threats to journalists and their families, torture and killings.” He said that silence is not a solution; we have to undertake a collective struggle, no matter what the cost.

He said that every institution of the country has to be transparent, accountable and must have some code of conduct and ethics.

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