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HRCP demands renewed commitment to press freedom and media protections

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LAHORE: On World Press Freedom Day on Friday the 3rd of May, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called on the state to ensure fair and timely compensation for journalists and media workers, to institute mechanisms to protect them from attacks and hold accountable perpetrators of their arbitrary detentions to protect the right to freedom of expression.

While Pakistan’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index has improved since last year, journalists and media workers continue to report restrictive working environments and a pervasive culture of self-censorship. Moreover, they continue to be threatened, attacked and disappeared in their line of work with alarming frequency — the latest Global Impunity Index ranks Pakistan 11th among countries for impunity in killings of journalists.

HAMID MIR | Journo turned rights activist?

HRCP said it was also alarmed to learn that prominent journalist Hamid Mir has recently received death threats for his comments online supporting free speech, with little action from state and law enforcement authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Such repressive and abhorrent practices must end. As the fourth estate, press freedom is vital to the functioning of a healthy democracy. The state must demonstrate its commitment to protect press freedom, and uphold the rights to life, job security, free speech and fair wages for all journalists and media workers, particularly those with dissenting views and opinions.

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