December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Pakistan

Pakistan August 16, 2010

H.E. Asif Al Zadari

President

Office of the President

Awan-E-Sadar

Constitution Avenue

Islamabad

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Fax: (011.92.51.2) 920.3938


Your Excellency:


We join many Pakistani journalists and media associations, as well as international civil groups, in deploring the actions taken in Pakistan to shut down TV stations and newspapers that had reported on your embarrassing encounter in Birmingham.


Although direct government actions to silence these journalists might have seemed too obvious, permitting activists from your party, the PPP, backed by police to commit the violent acts that did silence them was no better. As one protest by journalists in Pakistan put it, this was “hooliganism on a state level.”


Pakistan is already one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to practice their trade. Nevertheless, Pakistan enjoys a vibrant, inquisitive press, which is what a democracy needs. The departure of General Musharraf in 2008 was expected to free Pakistan‘s press from persecution; yet, under your government, the pressure to make the press toe the government line grows stronger.


The recent attacks on our Pakistani colleagues – blocking transmissions by Geo TV and ARY news, forcing cable companies to stop carrying those programs, seizing and burning newspapers – come of course at a particularly difficult time for Pakistan. The shoe-throwing when you were speaking in Birmingham recently was a trivial event compared to the calamity of this week’s floods in Pakistan.


Yet, that trivial incident was the immediate reason for cutting off the news just when the Pakistani people have the greatest need to know what is happening to them. To respond to a great emergency with silence is always more dangerous than telling people the truth.


By the time this reaches you, it may be that the action of the Lahore High Court will have succeeded in lifting the ban on the media. If so, well and good. But we, of the Overseas Press Club of America, urge you not to repeat this mistake the next time the press irritates you.


Respectfully yours,

Jeremy Main
Kevin McDermott

Co-chairmen – Freedom of the Press Committee

cc’s:


Nurul Kabir

New Age

Holiday Building

30, Tejgaon Industrial Area

Dhaka-1208

Bangladesh

Fax: (011.880.2) 811.2247


H E. Hussain Haqqani

Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

3517 International Court, NW

Washington, DC 20008


Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United Nations

8 East 65th Street

New York, NY  10021

Fax: (212) 744.7348


H.E. Anne W. Patterson

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan

Embassy of the United States of America

Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5

Islamabad

Pakistan

Fax: (011.92.51) 227.6427


Mr. Abbas Nasir

Editor-in-Chief

Dawn TV

Haroon House, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road

Karachi 74200

Pakistan

Fax: (011.92.21) 569.3995

webmaster@dawn.com


Rana Qaisar

Islamabad Resident Editor

Daily Times

Aquhbar Market, Moti Plaza

Murree Road

Rawalpindi

Pakistan

(ranakaisar@hotmail.com)


M.A.Zubari

Editor-in-chief

Business Recorder

Recorder House

531 Business Recorder Road

Karachi 74550

Pakistan

(edkhi@br-mail.com)


Pakistan Press Foundation

ppf@pakistanpressfoundation.org