November 14th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Pakistan Federation Union of Journalists will continue to struggle for press freedom, freedom of expression, and the rights of media workers in the country, Nasir Zaidi, Secretary General, said while accepting Nisar Osmani Award for Courage Journalism 2021 conferred on his union on Saturday.
“We are overwhelmed with the honour bestowed upon the PFUJ and pledge that we would not compromise the trust and confidence reposed,” Zaidi said at the award distribution ceremony at the Dorab Patel Auditorium.
Since its inception, the PFUJ has had a history of challenging authoritarian rulers in the country, he said. The union’s struggle was based on two principles— press freedom and the freedom of expression, and safeguarding rights of the media workers, he added.
“We have chosen the path of struggle as this is the only way of taking the country out of the dark abyss,” Zaidi said.
“We accept this award in the name of all those journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty and all those who have refused to compromise their principles in the course of their work,” Shahzada Zulfiqar, President of PFUJ, said in his acceptance speech.
He said the country was still facing the spectre of draconian laws that were aimed at curbing freedom of expression, making it clear that the journalist’s body would continue its struggle against such laws.
“Despite immense pressure we did not bow to the powers that be, refusing to accept Pakistan Media Development Authority law, holding country-wide demonstrations to condemn this un-democratic piece of legislation,” Shahzada Zulfiqar said.
The PFUJ office-bearers said the conferring of the award would encourage dissenting voices and democratic forces to continue their struggle despite all sledgehammer tactics being employed by the state. The two leaders made it very clear that the PFUJ would continue showing solidarity with all rights groups, including those who have been campaigning for the recovery of missing persons besides allying with the democratic forces for the real restoration of democracy.
Veteran journalist Husain Naqi presented Nisar Osmani Award for Courage Journalism to both office-bearers of the union, flanked by HRCP chairperson Hina Jilani. A day earlier, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan announced that the Nisar Osmani Award for Courage in Journalism has been awarded to the Pakistan Federation Union of Journalists.