Pakistan Urged to Protect Press Freedom Ahead of Polls

Pakistan Urged to Protect  Press Freedom Ahead of PollsPakistan Urged to Protect  Press Freedom Ahead of Polls

There are growing concerns over media censorship and violence against journalists in Pakistan as the country prepares to hold its general elections later this month.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a US-based advocacy group, urged Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk to take swift measures to ensure press freedom and an open media environment in the lead-up to the July 25 polls, Al Jazeera reported.

“We are concerned that recent events in Pakistan signal that the media is not free to report and we urge your government to take necessary measures to guarantee journalists’ ability to work without fear of intimidation or reprisal,” Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director, said in a letter addressed to Mulk on Monday.

CPJ said it has documented a series of “worrisome occurrences” in recent months, some of which have “prevented the free distribution of news or that appear to be aimed at intimidating journalists into silence.”

Pakistan ranks 139 out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, and attacks against journalists and other media professionals are common.

CPJ’s letter comes after similar concerns were raised last month by media watchdog RSF and its local partner in Pakistan, Freedom Network.

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