KARACHI: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton in a statement with regards to the Press Freedom Day (03rd May) expressed that the Pakistani media has come a long way since the reforms in 2008 however, 2014 has been marked as the one of the bloodiest years for journalists in the history of Pakistan.
He said that the media vibrancy in the country is remarkable but Pakistan remains one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a journalist, as was highlighted in this week’s Amnesty International Report. A range of media houses from across the political spectrum have been attacked. Journalists and their support staff have been targeted and in some cases, tragically, killed, said Barton.
He further expressed that the freedom of expression is fundamental to a strong democracy. An open and effective press serves to improve the environment for long-term social, political and economic stability. Journalists are crucial to this work. In Pakistan they have played a central role in embedding public support for democratic values – witnessed so clearly in last year’s historic elections.
Journalists, bloggers, media organisations and individuals must be allowed to operate and to express themselves freely and safely in line with international standards. The recent surge in violence against journalists in Pakistan highlights the need for action in this area. I call on all in Pakistan to support a free and fair press, where journalists can go about their vital work without fear, intimidation or harassment, the British High Commissioner emphasized.