KARACHI: The Intern­ational Press Institute (IPI) — a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists — has welcomed the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to lift censorship on the state-run media.

In a press statement released on Thursday, IPI executive director Barbara Trionfi said: “The annou­ncement by the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan that state media will be allowed editorial independence appears to be an important step towards restoring respect for press freedom in Pakistan.”

She urged the government to implement such commitment thoroughly and refrain from using its control over state media’s governing bodies to influence news content.

On Tuesday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had announced that the government had lifted all political censorship on the state-run media. He said that PTV and Radio Pakistan had been given complete editorial independence over the content.

Welcoming the minister’s announcement, the IPI reiterated concerns about the ongoing clampdown on independent news media. “The independent media in Pakistan is facing serious intimidation, restrictions on the sale and circulation of newspapers as well as the blockading of television broadcasts by the administration,” Ms Trionfi noted.

“We reiterate our call to Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure that news organisations and journalists in Pakistan can operate freely and without fear of intimidation, and so ensure that the people of Pakistan have access to a plurality of news,” the statement added.

The IPI, it recalled, had written to Mr Khan before the general elections on June 12 and again on Aug 13 after the PTI emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, expressing grave concern over the decline of press freedom in the country.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2018