SAFMA, SAMC demand media’s freedom in election coverage


South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) and South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) have urged the authorities in the country to ensure media’s freedom in the coverage of the general elections.

In a joint statement, SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and SAMC Secretary General M Ziauddin showed concern at the threats journalists were receiving from political parties contesting elections and from militants attacking political campaigns.

“Democracy can flourish only by ensuring a culture of tolerance and coverage of diversity in views and opinions. Democracy’s strength lies in a free and vibrant media. So, all democratic parties should guarantee safety of journalists and respect their freedom,” they said.

On the other hand, SAFMA and SAMC officeholders expressed disquiet at incidences of violation of media code issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Good journalism practices demand that media follow the code in letter and spirit,” they said.

Alam and Ziauddin called on the interim government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to unblock YouTube forthwith.

They expressed concern over the cases in courts, Sindh High Court in particular, where journalists were being asked to reveal their sources of information. “Revealing their sources will jeopardise the security of journalists, restricting the right to seek and impart information. This will adversely affect investigative journalism and media’s mission to secure overall public interest.”