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World Press Freedom Day: G-B journalists demand RTI law, security

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GILGIT: Journalists in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) marked World Press Freedom Day amid hopes of legislation upholding their rights and ensuring security.

HunzaNews  May 4th, 2014.

Speaking at a media workshop on Saturday, Information Minister Sadia Danish hinted at initiating the process of forming a Right to Information law in the G-B legislative assembly.

“I will definitely work on it and will table the bill in the assembly, provided the house has jurisdiction to make laws on it,” said the minister while addressing the workshop titled “The Right to Information, Law, Safety and Security of Journalists” in Gilgit.

The workshop was organised by an NGO, IRADA, as part of a Unesco project, and was facilitated by an Islamabad-based journalist, Aoun Sahi.

“There are some subjects on which the G-B Council has powers to legislate. But I assure you if it falls in the G-B Assembly’s domain we will certainly table a bill on it soon,” she added.

Though attacks on journalists in the line of duty are rare in G-B, the region’s sectarian conflict has exposed several journalists to threats of various nature.

“In the backdrop of increasing threats to media personnel across the country, G-B has also become a dangerous place for reporting, especially in the wake of rising extremism in the region,” said Gilgit Press Club President Khursheed Ahmed. He added that it is thus important that the government enact laws guaranteeing access to information and security for journalists.

In the workshop, journalists discussed problems being faced by them while discharging their duties. Referring to laws adopted by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, Sahi suggested the replication of such legislation in G-B, asking lawmakers to initiate the process as early as possible.

The workshop was also attended by former education adviser Noorul Ain, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan coordinator Israruddin, Al-Khidmat Foundation Regional Programme Manager Tahir Rana and High Court Bar Association President Ziaur Rahman.

As part of observing World Press Freedom Day, local journalists also held a brief protest near the G-B Assembly, demanding safety for all the journalists working in the country.

 Express Tribune

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