Sunday, December 18, 2011

SAFMA views Balochistan journalists standing in Cross Fire

SAFMA views Balochistan journalists standing in Cross Fire

QUETTA, Dec 16 (APP): The leadership of South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Pakistan has viewed that journalists in Balochistan were standing in cross fire situation.This was said in a conference “Attacks on Journalists and Media Freedom” organized by South Asian Media Commission (SAMC) Pakistan and SAFMA at Quetta Press Club on Friday.Speaking on the occasion, Imtiaz Aalam, the Central General Secretary of SAFMA said that situation in Balochistan is very serious for journalist community as 20 media persons had been killed in incidents of target killing, firing or bomb blasts during performing their duties while many others have been facing threats from extremists.

He said it was duty of the government to provide security and protection to citizens adding that, however, journalists in Balochistan had complaints against some law enforcement agencies. He said that many areas in Balochistan had become “No Go Areas” even journalists of the areas were forced to leave them.
He urged the Balochistan government to make allocations in its annual budget for capacity building of press clubs. He underlined the need to set up a cell to deal with threats being hurled to media persons in Balochistan.
He viewed it was need of the hour to initiate serious dialogues with Baloch and Pashtoon leadership to resolve Balochistan issue.
Speaker Balochistan Assembly Muhammad Aslam Bhootani who was invited said that no country could get goals of progress and prosperity where media was not free.
He said that smooth flourishing of democracy linked with freedom of media. He regretted that a lot of reporter had sacrificed their lives during coverage of different incidents. He observed that media played vital role in reinstatement of deposed judiciary, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
He said that journalists had been facing pressure from both government institutions and militants. He assured that he would take up the issue with Balochistan Finance Minister to release funds for the capacity building of press clubs.
He, however, viewed that some private TV channels mistakenly damage their own credibility when they air news without confirmation which later proved untrue. He emphasized the need that like other institutions, self- accountability were also needed for media institutions.
Vice President SAFMA Balochistan chapter Shehzada Zulfiqar said that about 98 journalists had been killed across the world in incidents of target killing, bomb explosions and cross fire, adding that out of them 76 belonged to Pakistan including 20 from Balochistan province. He said that media persons of Balochistan were facing threats and they were working in life risk environment.

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