AK to observe World Press Freedom Day on Monday – May 03 with renewed resolve:

MIRPUR (AJK): Like the world over, the journalist fraternity in Azad Jammu Kashmir is all set to observe the World Press Freedom Day on Monday – May 03, with the renewal of the pledge to lend all of their energies and professional skills for the promotion of healthy journalism amidst an already prevailing conducive environment of freedom of expression in the liberated territory of AJK, the base camp of the Kashmir freedom struggle continuing their professional activities for the success of Kashmir cause in form of liberation of the occupied Jammu Kashmir from forced and unlawful Indian occupation.

This year too, the media in Pakistan including AJK is operating under a new and challenging environment created by the spread of COVID-19. Since the spread of the pandemic in the country, several journalists have died and scores of other media workers have tested positive.

Special ceremonies will be held under the set SOPs in view of the prevailing high spell of corona pandemic in various major parts of AJK including the capital city of Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Rawlakot under the auspices of the press clubs and journalists organizations to mark the day with renewal of the resolve to focus for performing the professional duties, by the media men through their high intellect and pen, in larger national interests especially to raise awareness among the masses about adopting the measures from safety from the prevailing life threats from the continual sharp spike of the COVID-19 pandemic in Azad Jammu Kashmir which has claimed over 500 precious human lives across the State so far.

It may be added that at the first leg of the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019, there had been proposals to regulate social media content which had led to various social media companies threatening to leave Pakistan and creating a grim picture for the opportunity for free expression online.

World Press Freedom Day was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993.

It may be added that the date chosen for this annual celebration was 3 May, which is a day of action in the form of initiatives designed to uphold press freedom, as well as a day for assessing the state of press freedom in the world, a day for warning the public and raising awareness, a day for encouraging debate among media professionals, and a commemoration of all the journalists who have lost their lives while doing their job.

The Council of Europe’s action to promote press freedom and freedom of information is based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, under which this fundamental right is one of the cornerstones of democracy. The Council carries out co-operation activities helping countries to draft legislation and introduce practices which comply with European standards. One of the things that it has done is set up an international group of specialists on freedom of expression and information in times of crisis. The information society is changing, so the Council of Europe now faces the challenge of upholding and maintaining its fundamental principles in new environments, the main one of which is the Internet.

Journalists in times of crisis : –

Wars, terrorism, threats to stability and natural disasters are leading to stricter security and surveillance all over the world. What effect does this have on access to information and on journalism ?

Concerned about the erosion of press freedom in times of crisis, the Council of Europe has, according to the latest media reports, adopted three particularly significant documents.