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MSR’s arrest decried as ‘illegal’ at Brussels event on World Press Freedom Day

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BRUSSELS: The arrest of Jang/Geo Media Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was recently discussed at an international journalists' and academics’ conference organized by two European universities in Brussels, the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), on the occasion of International Press Freedom Day.

The conference, titled ‘Journalism without fear or favour’, was attended online by thousands of journalists, academics, lawyers and human rights activists from around the world.

Media, law and human rights activists, including Barrister Coailfhionn Gallagher, discussed Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman's arrest before the conference's participants.

Speaking during a session titled "About freedom of expression and open justice", Gallagher stated that MSR was arrested due to his media group's robust editorial policy and criticism of the current government.

Continuing, the barrister noted that action against journalism and journalists is not limited to dictatorships, but happens also in democratic countries. Pakistan is one of the large democracies where journalism is under threat, she noted, describing the arrest of Mir Shakeel-ur-Rahman as 'illegal'.

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Earlier in the conference, Caroline Pauwels, Rector of ULB and VUB, and Yvon Englert, in his inaugural address, had highlighted the purpose of the conference.

Guilherme Canela, UNESCO's Chief of Section for Freedom of Expression, also spoke, apprising the participants of facts and figures from around the world related to journalism.

Later, during the section titled ‘Journalism without fear’ speakers from different parts of the world contributed through live chat interactions.

On the occasion, imprisoned Turkish journalists Ahmet Altan and Elf Shafaq were also given the Honorary Title 2020 Award for their courageous services to journalism.


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