EU foreign ministry raises concerns over violence against journalists in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The European Union has raised concerns over violence, intimidation, abduction, and killing of journalists in Pakistan and said it indicated a “clear, negative trend” in the freedom of media in recent years.
A spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, Nabila Massrali, on Tuesday said: “The backtracking in this area is having a detrimental impact on the overall climate of freedom of expression in Pakistan and reflecting negatively on Pakistan’s image abroad,” Geo TV reported.
The EU is also concerned about widespread and systematic harassment online, especially of female journalists, through coordinated campaigns including abusive language and threats of violence, Massrali said.
The spokesperson said EU actively advocates the importance of the freedom of expression and the need for protection of journalists around the world, including in Pakistan and directly with the Pakistani authorities, reported Geo TV further.
“In the fifth EU-Pakistan strategic dialogue with foreign minister Qureshi on 3 November 2020, [High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] Josep Borrell reiterated concerns over the freedom of expression and media in Pakistan,” Massrali said.
Earlier in June, three international rights groups voiced grave concern at the recent attacks on journalists in Pakistan and mounting pressure on scribes critical of the Imran Khan-led government.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists called for prompt prosecution of those suspected of criminal responsibility, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.
Last month, an Islamabad-based journalist Asad Ali Toor, known for criticism of the country’s establishment, was attacked in Pakistan’s capital. The attackers broke into his house and attacked him brutally.
Last year, the authorities had charged Toor with sedition for comments on social media “maligning state institutions”. A court later dismissed the charges, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in a ‘White Paper on Global Journalism’ listed five countries, including Pakistan as the ‘Most Dangerous Countries for Practice of Journalism in the World’ with 138 journalists being killed in Pakistan since 1990.


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