The Parliamentarians Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) and the Peace & Justice Network in Islamabad, in collaboration with UNESCO, hosted a national advocacy seminar on the importance of verified data on crimes against journalists.
The conference also discussed the possible roles and responsibilities of various government and non-government stakeholders in the process of collection of the data. The Seminar was attended by legislators, policymakers, senior representatives from government departments, development partners, civil society, and media development organizations as well as a large number of journalists, bloggers and media workers from across Pakistan.
All the present participants wanted to promote the use of reporting on crimes against journalists for effective and efficient state response, protecting journalists and preventing crimes against them, as well as collecting and obtaining data on these crimes for balanced, strong and gender-responsive media environment in Pakistan.
Welcoming all the stakeholders, Executive Director PCHR Shafique Chaudhry, said that at the time of Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda first Voluntarily National Review (VNR) in 2019, on the status of implementation of SDG’s there was no state reporting on indicator SDG 16.10.1: Crimes against Journalists and Media Workers.
Keeping in mind the significance of the indicator for ensuring freedom of expression and safety of journalists and human rights defenders, the National Framework on SDGs approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) declared SDG 16.10.1 as one of the priority targets for Pakistan. The challenge of obtaining verified data from the government against the SDG was identified as the data on crimes against journalists, and was not available in the compiled form at any level in any government organization.
Responding to the need to fill this gap, UNESCO, Peace & Justice Network and PCHR in collaboration with the National and Provincial SDGs Parliamentary Taskforce initiated this process of establishing an institutionalized data collection and compilation mechanism on crimes against journalists and media workers with the help of government departments, organizations, federal and provincial ministries and, the police department across the country.
Now after the hard work of over three long years, Pakistan has developed and produced its first State data gathering and reporting mechanism on SDG 16.10.1: Crimes against Journalists and Media Workers, and now all the stakeholders are able to make more informed and practical steps for the protection of journalists in Pakistan based on this data.