CPJ calls on Pakistan's PM to protect press freedom ahead of elections

July 2, 2018 10:13 AM

July 2, 2018

Prime Minister Nasir ul-Mulk
Constitution Avenue, G-5/2,
Islamabad, Pakistan

Sent via email: info@pmo.gov.pk

Dear Prime Minister Nasir ul-Mulk,

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, shares the hope of Pakistan's people that the country will witness its third peaceful transfer of power in the July 25 general elections. To assure that these elections are transparent and fair, however, there must be an open media environment that allows Pakistanis to fully enjoy their constitutional right of access to information.

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.

CPJ has documented a series of worrisome occurrences over the past several months--some of which we included below--that have prevented the free distribution of news or that appear to be aimed at intimidating journalists into silence.

These incidents foster fear among journalists that prevents them from working effectively. The media should not be punished for reporting statements from politicians or political parties, even when they are controversial. We ask that your government to take swift measures to protect the freedom of the press, including:

The atmosphere of intimidation in Pakistan stymies the country's press corps and undermines the electoral process. Ultimately, this environment of fear will undercut the legitimacy and authority of the new government. We urge you to consider our recommendations to prevent this from occurring and to avoid weakening the electoral process.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Joel Simon
Executive Director
Committee to Protect Journalists