Islamabad: Journalists in Pakistan are speaking out against the harassment faced by journalist Sadia Mazhar, who filed information requests under Right to Information laws.
Mazhar’s requests were met with threats and harassment from public bodies, sparking condemnation from the journalist community.
The Digital Media Alliance of Pakistan (DigiMAP) took to Twitter to strongly condemn the harassment faced by Mazhar for filing RTI requests at the Sahiwal Club and the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department in Lahore.
The organization emphasized that RTI is a legally protected right for every citizen and government officials should not harass journalists for seeking information.
DigiMAP strongly condemns harassment faced by @SaddiaMazhar for filing RTI requests at Sahiwal Club and Punjab Excise and Taxation Department in Lahore.
RTI is legally protected right of every citizen and government officials should not harass journalists asking for information! https://t.co/1tRnvH48C9
— DigiMAP (@digimappk) April 13, 2023
The President of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), Abid Abbasi, also spoke out against the incidents and ensured his support for Mazhar.
The Young Journalists Association released a press statement, condemning the incident and demanding that the Commissioner of Sahiwal take notice of the matter.
Lala Asad Pathan, Secretary Finance, PFUJ, speaking on behalf of the entire journalist community, expressed their condemnation of the threats made against Mazhar and assured her that they stand in solidarity with her.
یہ انتہائی شرمناک عمل ہے میں نے ابھی اس نمبر پر فون کیا مگر اس نے نہیں اٹھایا ، پوری صحافی برداری سعدیہ مظہر کو دھمکیاں دینے کی مزمت کرتی ہے اور واضع کرتے ہیں کہ پوری صحافتی برادری سعدیہ کے ساتھ ہے کسی کو جرات ہے تو کوشش کرکے دیکھ لے 😡
— Saeed Jahan Alias Lala Asad (@LalaAsadPathan) April 11, 2023
Mazhar had recently filed an information request to the Sahiwal Club, whose Secretary responded with a threatening letter stating that her act of filing the request constitutes an offense punishable under Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The Secretary requested the Commission to file a complaint against Mazhar.
In addition to this, Mazhar also filed an information request to the Excise and Taxation Department in Lahore, and then started receiving messages on her mobile from a staff member of the department, who was harassing her. Earlier, she also received a threatening call and email from the Elementary and Secondary Education Department in Karachi when she sought information about the facilities in an education institution in Larkana.