Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), along with Pakistan press clubs, journalists’ bodies, and the Freedom Network, have called on Pakistani political parties to prioritize freedom of expression and the protection of journalists in their election manifestos. The RSF statement highlights the worsening situation for journalists in Pakistan and urges political parties to take concrete measures to support press freedom. Impunity for crimes against journalists and the media in Pakistan is alarmingly high, with no convictions in 96% of journalist killings in the past decade, according to the Freedom Network’s Annual Impunity 2022 Report. RSF emphasizes that press freedom, journalistic independence, and pluralism are fundamental pillars of democracy and calls on political leaders to make a commitment to legislative guarantees for journalist protection and the fight against impunity. The statement acknowledges the historical support of political parties for freedom of expression and press freedom in Pakistan and asks them to unambiguously state their support for these principles. The joint statement was signed by various press clubs, journalists’ unions, and organizations, and delivered to major political parties in Pakistan, seeking their commitment to defending press freedom if elected to national and provincial parliaments in the upcoming general elections.
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