Pakistan

HRCP calls for prosecuting media attackers

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave alarm over attack on media organizations and journalists on Friday by mobs protesting the execution of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s murderer, according to a press statement.

The commission, in a statement, demanded that all those who had instigated and carried out the violence to intimidate the media must be brought to justice.

The HRCP said that while it welcomed condemnation of these attacks by the Prime Minister, Punjab and Sindh chief ministers and other officials and their vows of protecting media freedoms, words alone could not assuage the fears of Pakistani media, which had been under attack from many quarters for years.

“The attacks on the media in Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore on Friday are indeed attempts to curb freedom of expression,” it noted. “This is not the first time that the quarters, wishing to dictate through violence what the media ought or ought not to cover, have struck.”

The rights group strongly opposed to any attempt by state or non-state actors to influence or harass the media into submission.

“Friday’s attacks must receive more than mere condemnation from the official quarters,” it demanded.

“We call upon the authorities to make sure that all those who orchestrated and carried out the attacks on the media on Friday must be effectively prosecuted under the law,” read the statement. “Steps to ensure security for media from such attacks must also be taken in consultation with media and journalists’ organizations.”

“The media organizations and journalists and the larger civil society should close their ranks against new threats in addition to the many perils they already face on account of their work.”

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