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Zardari calls for freedom of expression, RTI Legislation and end to impunity of crimes against media persons

Islamabad May 2, 2017: “There is a systematic erosion of freedom of expression in the name of ideology and national security on the one hand and crimes against media persons are being committed with impunity on the other”.

This has been stated by former President Asif Ali Zardari in a message on the international Press Freedom Day on Wednesday May 3.

The PPP stands by the journalists in their struggle for achieving twin objectives namely; Right to freedom of expression as well as ending impunity of crimes against them, he said.

Freedom of expression and articulation of pluralistic ideas in a genuinely democratic set is necessary for the flowering of societies, he said. Unfortunately the freedom of expression has come under increasing attack by the state in the name of national security and by the non state actors in the name of ideology. This indeed is the challenge of post 9/11 world that must be addressed urgently. the former President said.

He said that free flow of information and ideas empowers citizens. When information flow is obstructed the citizen is disempowered, he said.

Asif Zardari said that he was deeply concerned that the draft Right to Information (RTI) Law unanimously agreed to by all political parties recently had still not been brought before the Parliament by the government.

On the eve of the international press freedom day I call upon the government to immediately bring before the Parliament the unanimously agreed legislation aimed at ensuring right to information, he said.

The PPP is also deeply concerned over the impunity with which crimes against journalists and media persons have been perpetrated.

I urge all organs of the state to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against journalists and to set up credible mechanisms for ensuring their protection.

I also wish to pay tribute to all those journalists who have braved odds while performing their duties under difficult and dangerous conditions.