Media freedom violators must be punished, says UK report – Newspaper

LONDON: According to a strong report from the influential Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK government, those who violate media freedom should be ashamed and punished through international coordination and sanctions.

The report, which refers to the evolution of physical, virtual and financial threats facing journalists worldwide, urges the Foreign Office to support journalists by establishing 10 key recommendations.

This includes asking the Office of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (FCO) to consider supporting an international mechanism to investigate and punish the abuse of journalists if governments do not; asking him to do more to shame and publicly punish those who persecute the media; and also recommends that the FCO coordinate more closely with the Ministry of Interior to issue visas for endangered journalists and their families.

The proposed measures include sanctions

The report cites examples from several countries, including Pakistan, where he notes that the future of press freedom is bleak.

"The United Kingdom should report the mistreatment of journalists," says committee chairman Parliamentarian Tom Tugendhat. “Some think that our government is prioritizing trade over human rights. We have to be clear that those who violate the freedom of the media should be punished. ”

While the 13 parliamentarians who were members of the committee that published the report acknowledge the intention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the issue of press freedom, the document notes that the movement on the issue has been slow and that there are few details on The next steps.

The Foreign Affairs Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to hold the Office of Foreign Affairs responsible for its expenses and policies. The committee chooses its own investigations, which then receive evidence from witnesses. The results of the committee are published as a report.

The Freedom of the Media report is under attack: the FCO's defense of an endangered freedom obtained evidence from witnesses, including journalists from various countries, as well as the BBC. The president of Unesco on the freedom of the media was one of the witnesses who presented evidence before the committee.

Among the examples of cases that witnesses repeatedly cited was the failure of the FCO to stand up in the case of Jamal Khashoggi. "The FCO had not done enough to publicly criticize Saudi authorities for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul in 2018," the report said.

Scott Griffen, a witness who is deputy director of the International Press Institute (IPI), warned that "many of the gains of recent decades are in danger of being reversed."

The report was published to coincide with the international parliamentary seminar of the Interparliamentary Union of the British Group (BGIPU) on freedom of the media to be held in the Parliament of the United Kingdom from September 9 to 11.

The committee also asked the Foreign Office to consider measures to address the financial weakness and vulnerability of media organizations around the world. "Around the world, vested interests are exploiting the financial weakness of journalists to achieve financial dependence on, and therefore, editorial obedience to themselves," the report said.

Mr. Griffen of the IPI told the committee that governments were among the perpetrators, as they "retain state publicity of critical media." He also reported that "there is still some skepticism about how public the FCO will be about defending media freedom."

Posted in Dawn, September 9, 2019



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