Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Vows To Fight Censorship
The crisis through which Pakistan’s media is going through, we don’t see its economic situation in isolation. We believe that it is in continuity of unannounced censorship. Only the tools have changed.
Previously, media was made to toe the line either through coercion or through advertisement. Now the establishment has adopted a new strategy. Media workers are also not being paid for months and it is in continuity of the same unannounced censorship. This strategy was formulated by the establishment, implemented by former chief justice Saqib Nisar and then NAB played its role too due to which today Pakistani media is totally crippled.
Never was censorship so complete in Pakistan that we’re not allowed to speak or write a single word of dissent. PFUJ (Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists) has always fought censorship in Pakistan’s history. And the declaration we’ll issue after this 3-day session will also challenge this unannounced censorship and begin a historical struggle against it.
PFUJ’s constitution revolves around two things. One is press freedom and the other is the protection of media workers’ rights. We’ll strive for both together. So far we had been protesting for the workers’ salaries but now the problem is that press freedom has been completely curtailed. So we’ll take both these things together.
Abdullah Malik: So do you have faith that media will once again be able to raise its voice and talk of people’s democratic rights?
Afzal Butt: Yes, I have faith because I had started the movement against Musharraf from a footpath. All my anchor friends used to say I had gone crazy. We camped for 72 consecutive days on this footpath. We didn’t stop even when bar councils gave up on the movement to restore the judges and we had complete faith that when your path is right, the struggle can be long but it always bears fruit.