Restrictions on press freedom undermine Pakistan’s image: Blinken

Restrictions on press freedom undermine Pakistan's image Blinken

WASHINGTON: On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said restrictions on freedom of expression undermine Pakistan’s image and its ability to progress.

This comes after Pakistan has been ranked the fifth most dangerous place for the practice of journalism, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Blinken highlighted the issue of significant restrictions on media outlets and civil society in Pakistan. He also said that the US brings up these issues in its engagements with Pakistani counterparts.

These remarks came when an ARY journalist in the briefing asked Blinken if the State Department ever takes up the issue of crimes against journalists in its bilateral talks with the Pakistani authorities.

“The short answer is yes, we take this up in our engagements with Pakistani counterparts. Of course, this is also a feature of the annual Human Rights Reports that we put out, and, of course, we’re aware of significant restrictions on media outlets and civil society more broadly in Pakistan,” the US Secretary of State said.

According to the media reports, 138 media persons in the country lost their lives in the line of duty between 1990 and 2020.

“Here again a vibrant free press and an informed citizenry are key for any nation and its future, including Pakistan, and I think these practices that we see undermine freedom of expression. They undermine peaceful assembly. They undermine Pakistan’s image as well as its ability to progress. So, it is something that comes up both in our direct engagements and in the work that we’re doing every day,” Blinken added.

Pakistan remains among the top 10 countries where predators of attacks on journalists and media go unpunished. Besides fatal attacks, journalists face other categories of threats such as physical attacks, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, imprisonment, and torture. (ANI)