The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has condemned an armed attack on the offices of a private television channel, disruption of the distribution of Dawn, the most respected English newspaper of the country, and threats to journalists.
In a joint statement, AWP senior vice-President Yousuf Masti Khan, general secretary Akhtar Hussain Advocate and spokesperson Farooq Tariq expressed deep concerns at the frequent attacks on the Balochi language channel ‘Vash’ offices in Karachi and Hyderabad by armed men.
The also condemned the coercive tactics being employed by the state institutions and non-state elements to silence the voices of dissent since the eruption of Panama Leaks.
“Dawn is the only independent newspaper which has maintained the highest journalistic standards and objectivity and exposes the wrongdoings, flawed policies and unconstitutional acts of state institutions as well as ruling class political parties. The newspaper has given balanced coverage to all political and other organisations as well as the marginalised communities, progressive forces and dissent voices.
“Likewise, Vash channel has always highlighted issues of the people of the oppressed nations”, they said.
They also said that attacks on independent media outlets and disruption of their smooth working are outdated and the most disgusting tactics used by state and non-state elements which is against the fundamental right to freedom of expression and freedom of media guaranteed by the constitution.
The international and national human rights and media organisations have time and again expressed their concern at the rising incidents of violence against media persons and outlets and declared Pakistan as one of the most dangerous countries for media.
The Awami Workers Party leaders demanded an immediate arrest of the attackers and payment of compensation to the TV channel for the losses at the office of Vash television.
They also demanded the authorities to ensure freedom of expression and an immediate end to attacks on media offices and media persons and vowed to defend the rights to freedom of expression.