World Press Freedom Day 2020: UN Special Rapporteur Urges Pak Govt to Support Independent Journalism, Protect Women Journalists

Islamabad — On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2020, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, shared with Digital Rights Monitor a special message for the Pakistan government.

Mr. Kaye said it is good to notice that the Pakistan government has engaged with his mandate and that there are some positive aspects about Pakistan’s openness to engage on the issue of freedom of expression.

“At this particular moment with the situation regarding coronavirus and the World Press Freedom Day today, the (Pakistan) government could make a strong statement in favour of independent journalism and the importance of public debate to dealing with major crises like the health crisis,” he said. “Whatever the government can say to support journalism would be excellent.”

Mr. Kaye said there are two things he would like to share in particular.

“One is my hope that (the Pakistan) government can pay particular attention to the concerns of the attacks on women journalists. All too often, and this is true for Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, women have been punished more than men and particularly by society and different groups. It is important for the government to ensure the protection of women journalists.

“Secondly, to remember that an open press is part of generating trust in the government. At a moment of public health crisis, the more fair the government can be to journalists, the less criminalising it can be against journalists, the better it will be for a healthy society and a healthy democracy.”

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