The Senate of Pakistan on Friday passed a unanimous resolution reaffirming its strong commitment to the freedom of press and expression, calling it an article of faith for every democracy.
The resolution, passed on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, reiterated that access to transparent and reliable information was the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable, and speaking truth to power.
The senators recognised the fundamental human right of press freedom and paid tribute to the journalists, editors and publishers who risk their lives in defence of the public’s right to know.
They saluted the media martyrs who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
The Senate affirmed its complete solidarity and support to the media workers in their just struggle for security of life and service so they can perform their professional duties without any hindrance or constraints.
Expressing his views on the floor of the house, Leader of House Shibli Faraz said it was a very important day for the journalist community, which contributed a lot in the struggle of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
There should be legislation to ensure security of life and employment of journalists, he added.
“We should sit down to put in place a mechanism for the security of journalists.”
Senator Usman Kakar said media workers were facing various threats and pressures.
Senator Mushahid Hussain said Quaid-e-Azam was the founder of two main newspapers and he once said that he would welcome the criticism of media.
Senator Rubina Khalid said media workers face a lot of difficulties, adding heirs should get compensation, in case journalists become victim of any accident.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said democratic freedoms were prevalent in the country due to long and hard work of journalists.
He said media was facing different pressures and not getting enough financial protection.
Senator Raza Rabbani said Article 19 of the Constitution gave freedom of speech and expression to every citizen and granted independence of media.
Restrictions on journalists were a violation of this article, he added.
Senator Sherry Rehman said in the history of Pakistan, freedom of the press was curbed which led to a movement by journalists for their independence.