Pakistan: Vice President of PFUJ extends solidarity to female journalists working in Afghanistan and Jammu & Kashmir20 Sep, 2021
While showing her concern for the educated and outspoken women of Afghanistan, especially affiliated with the field of journalism, Sheher Bano, the female Vice President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, extended her solidarity towards her sisters in profession in the war torn country. Terming them the lone voice for the rights of women of Afghanistan, she vowed to extend all out support to her sisters in profession in these testing times.
In her statement from the PFUJ platform she said after the establishment of Taliban government, female journalists are concerned about their security and careers. The Vice President said she has been watching media reports closely where many Afghan female journalists have expressed their concerns but she is hopeful that soon the Afghan government will announce a clear policy about the protection of women in general and female journalists in particular, as has been obvious from various statements given by top Taliban government officials.
She urged the Taliban Government to remove fear and anxiety of Afghan journalists, especially female journalists, as they are the eyes and ears of the society and journalism is the fourth pillar of the state. She said at the moment the women journalists are facing economic, social and psychological problems, but assurance from the government will soothe this situation.
She said like always, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists is standing by Afghan journalists, especially female journalists, and will extend all out support if any of them faced any difficult situation. She said Afghanistan was ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index and doing journalism was very difficult, but given the situation where press freedom is guaranteed in the new set up this index can show a positive trend.
Reiterating her support for Afghan female journalists, she announced her plan to convene a nationwide meeting of PFUJ women leaders to chalk out future plans for extending support to their Afghan sisters in profession. She urged the Afghan government to preserve the voice of free media, guarantee freedom of speech and safety of women journalists and ensure their career progression in a gender balanced society to ensure peace in the country.
She also showed her concern on the plight of journalists, specially female journalists, in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where a ban on freedom of speech, threat to lives of journalists, suspension of internet for days and months, has crippled media for the past many years.
She observed that since August 5, 2019, after Indian government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, grave human rights violations have occurred making media and journalists vulnerable to extreme pressures.
She also criticized the media policy of the Indian government, which is simply meant to control and curb media freedom and many journalists and media persons were apprehended, jailed, charged, interrogated, detained and threatened by the Indian forces for various reasons under this policy because the journalists were accused of not following the narrative of the government.
She termed the new media policy released by the Jammu and Kashmir administration, as being against the norms of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. She criticized the human rights violation faced by women journalists who often face disrespected or are abused by the Indian forces. She extended her strong support on behalf of entire PFUJ and praised the bravery of Kashmiri female journalists who are performing their duties under extreme pressure, despite facing communication blackout, media gag, sexual harassment, intimidation and risk to their lives and career.
She said Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has always supported press freedom in the region and has extended full support to journalists working in the countries of the region and beyond, through its strong statements in support of freedom of speech, which is the constitutional right of every individual.
PFUJ Secretary Information & Coordinator