LAHORE: Over fifty working journalists, editors, columnists, media persons and media freedom organisation representatives on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the ongoing curbs on freedom of expression in the country.
Condemning the ongoing censorship fiasco in a declaration, the journalists said that beginning with a crackdown against selected media groups and banning the broadcast of various channels, there was now an enhanced pressure on media houses to refrain from covering certain rights-based movements.
“Media house managements, under pressure, are dropping regular op-ed columns and removing online editions of published articles. One media house even asked its anchors to stop live shows,” the declaration read further and added that growing self-censorship and discussions on “given news” rather than real news was synonyms with violating the citizens’ right to information.
“We strongly protest against all forms of censorship imposed on free media and freedom of information and stand united against it,” the declaration concluded.
The undersigned of the declaration included I A Rehman, Hamid Mir, Nusrat Javeed, Asma Shirazi, Babar Sattar, Beena Sarwar, Farah Zia, Farooq Mehsud, Haroon Rashid, Husain Naqi, Murtaza Solangi, Raza Rumi, Saadia Salahuddin and others.
It may be noted that a similar issue pertaining to freedom of expression on university campuses has also been highlighted by a grand collective of nearly 200 university professors, who on Tuesday came together from all over the country to protest what they called increased repression of academic freedom in universities.
In a collectively written open letter pertaining to recent events in different universities of the country which allegedly curtail free thinking in academic spaces, the letter was signed by a number of important Pakistani professors who are part of the faculty at foreign universities, including Cambridge University, University of Chicago, University of Toronto, NYU, University of Edinburgh, and others.
The four events that the letter referred to included cancelled events at Habib University and LUMS, the firing of a politically active professor in Punjab University and the questioning of Gomal University official by ‘state functionaries.’