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LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed concern over a notice served by the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) on Dawn for what it called violating the Ethical Code of Practice by publishing an interview of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

It urged the authorities not to interfere with the media’s right to report fairly.

Speech limits: Where did censorship originate from?

The commission posted on Friday a statement on Twitter which said it was concerned that the newspaper’s circulation had been subjected to seemingly arbitrary curbs.

In his interview, Mr Sharif had stated: “Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”

The former premier added: “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it.”

The commission noted: “There is no evidence to suggest that Dawn has undermined Pakistan’s sovereignty or integrity under the PCP Ordinance 2002 by publishing an interview with the former prime minister speaking on the record.”

The commission described such moves as harassment of the media. “Such curbs are tantamount to press harassment and only chip away further at the shrinking space for Freedom of Expression,” it said.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2018