Unending Stories of Suppression of Journalists’ Voices

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Gojra:(Mashood ul Rashid) Gojra Press Club was sealed by the influential authorities of the Municipal Library of the city as journalists were exposing their mismanagement and corruption.

Gojra Press Club shares a similar location with the city’s Municipal Library building. Gojra Press Club is sealed as journalists are been victimized by the Municipal committee of the city as they are exposing their mismanagement and corruption of the staff. On the other hand, the MC is making a statement that the journalists are against the institution.

Arshad Mahmood Nasir, President of Gojra Press Club said that “Press Club was sealed by the Chief Officer of the Municipal Committee because the Press Club is located in the building next to the Municipal Library, Gojra, was provided by Municipal Committee, and the journalists of the Press Club used to publish news on the mismanagement and corruption by the staff of Municipal Committee”.

Ghulam Murtaza, a senior member of the Gojra Press Club and reporter of the private daily newspaper, visited the Municipal committee office in Gojra and tried to find out the position of Chief Officer Municipal Committee Waleed Usman on the issue of official tree cutting from the park on 18th February 2023. Instead of stating the journalist, Chief Officer Waleed Usman tried to contact the police and behaved inappropriately with the journalist.

After highlighting the issue by several local journalists in several daily newspapers and social media platforms. Chief Officer Waleed Usman took it personally. Issued a three-day warning notice on 28th February 2022 to seal the Gojra press club building, and after One day, the press club building was formally sealed on 1st March 2022. Computer equipment, furniture, and papers of the press club were also seized.

Similarly, a journalist from Faisalabad, with a pseudonym (Rauf), said on the condition of anonymity that he has been doing journalism for a long time and used to report on both positive and negative aspects of administrative and legal institutions. After the news was proved to be true, action was also taken against the government officials, but then, one day, an attempt was made to grab the inherited property of his wife, upon which his wife took legal action and requested the local police and the local court. She and her husband and children are facing death threats from the opponents, and they appeared in the open court of the District Police Officer to hear their plea, but all efforts to get justice proved unsuccessful, said Rauf. Actions were taken that boosted the morale of the opponents, and then my wife was tortured by the opponents. Calls to the police helpline did not work until I went to the police station and begged the police. Two and a half hours later, the police arrived at the scene with me and disappeared, leaving me in front of the opponents. Despite their requests, the police and administration did nothing to protect him and his wife, and their case is still pending. There is a delay, and legal proceedings are ongoing, but journalist Rauf feels that he will be targeted for his work.

An attempt was made to know the position of the opponents, including the police and administration, on this issue, but could not be contacted by all the parties.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, there have been incidents with several journalists, which prove that they are harassed for their work and blackmailed while pressuring them to stop reporting. Attempts are made to stop.

Although several organizations are working at the national level to prevent such attitudes against journalists, there is no such organization at the local level, due to which the problems of journalists at the regional level are getting worse day by day, and security is getting serious.

Organizations working at the national level should ensure the safety of journalists in small towns by making appropriate strategies.

 

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