Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday reaffirmed the government’s strong commitment to supporting all efforts that promote and uphold freedom of expression and free media.
He was addressing an event organised by the Islamabad Journalist Safety Forum on the theme of the UN ten years Plan of Action, according to an official statement.
The Prime Minister said his government believes that the freedom of expression is sacrosanct and will remain at the heart of the development of democracy.
Shehbaz noted democracy and media reinforce each other and that there can be no democracy without freedom of expression and his government would be part of efforts aimed at making Pakistani democracy stronger through greater free media.
He pointed out that Pakistan became the first country in Asia to pass legislation on the ‘Safety of Journalists’ at the federal and the provincial level in Sindh province and offered support for the ongoing efforts in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to legislate on the safety of journalists.
He said the Parliament passed a landmark Protection of Journalists and Media Professional Acts after thorough consultations with all the stakeholders, which recognises the rights of journalists and seeks to protect media persons from violence.
He assured the full implementation of this legislation.
The prime minister said his government believes that no journalists should be called out or attacked for exercising their freedom of expression as guaranteed under the constitution of Pakistan.
Referring to the murder of senior Journalist, Arshad Sharif, in Kenya, he said he wrote a letter to the Chief Justice to constitute a commission to investigate the murder.
The event coincided with the Supreme Court ordering the government to register a case against the killing of journalist Sharif who was killed in Kenya in October.
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