MESSAGE FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS FOR PFUJ 2010 "YEAR OF JOURNALISTS"
(The AEJ is an independent association of journalists active in more than twenty European countries, and an Observer member of the Council of Europe's standard-setting committee on media issues.)
The Association of European Journalists express our strong and principled support for the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists in your continuing and vital struggle for freedom of expression in the media, especially the right of journalists to investigate, report and question matters of public interest without the threat or use of violence or other forms of harassment by government agents or others. The exercise of that freedom is essential in every country, for democratic life and to counter serious misuses of power as well as corruption of all kinds. In many countries of the world, government actions and laws directed against the threat of terrorism have been wrongly used in recent years as a pretext to restrict free speech, especially the work of journalists. As a result, media freedom and independence needs to be defended even more vigorously, with the active support of all who value free speech.
The Council of Europe, which seeks to uphold universal principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, values freedom of expression and freedom of information as essential pillars of free societies everywhere. The AEJ is a media partner of the Council of Europe in the international campaign for legitimate freedom and independence of the media. We insist that governments must acknowledge their obligation to ensure the safety and protection of journalists in zones of conflict or lawlessness, and bring to justice and punish those responsible for all assaults against journalists or abuses of the criminal law directed against them on account of their work. Unfortunately, the murders of at least twenty journalists in Europe in the past three years and the prosecution or jailing of many others is evidence of a serious decline in the overall level of media freedom in many parts of Europe
The AEJ hails the courageous and determined efforts of the PFUJ to practise independent and inquring journalism in the public interest in Pakistan. We wish you every success in achieving those vital goals.
Media Freedom Representative, Association of European Journalists
Peter Kramer, Secretary-General, Association of European Journalists (AEJ) www.aej.org