World Press Freedom Day was observed on May 3 across the globe including Pakistan to highlight the importance of freedom of the press and fundamental principles of press. In Pakistan, rallies and seminars are conducted to highlight the importance of freedom of press.
The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression. Day is an occasion for acknowledging the role and relevance of free media in our society. In today’s age world has become a global village but sadly still privilege to write and speak freely is not many countries enjoy.
Media industry in Pakistan has mushroomed in recent past and numbers of electronic and press media houses have increased. Field of media has developed in the country but Pakistani journalists are working in hard conditions. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to perform their duties. Casualties of journalists while working in the line of duty are increasing with every passing year. Journalists operate under threat, particularly in terrorist-hit areas and often get killed while doing their duty. Pakistan is rated ‘Not Free’ in the Freedom of the Press Index 2017, and is ranked 147th out of 195 countries and territories worldwide. According to the Report, journalists in Pakistan experience official attempts to restrict critical reporting, as well as high levels of violence from both State and non-State actors. According to report of ‘Reporters Without Borders’ Pakistan is ranked 139 on the list of 180 countries.
In recent times attack on journalists and media houses have increased manifold. Considering the grave situation, government should ensure foolproof security to the working journalists and also for welfare of their community. On World Press Freedom Day we should pledge to promote a safe and enabling environment for those who exercise their right to freedom of expression. There is dire need to ensure safety of journalists. Government and media houses should also launch training workshops for journalists aiming to ensure their safety while performing duties. Government should take immediate steps for security of journalists and ensure freedom of expression. Because any attempt for gagging freedom of press would be tantamount to weaken democracy and encourage discrimination and disparity in the society.