SINGAPORE, MAY 3 -- Journalists from 14 Asian countries observed
World Press Freedom Day at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University with a
symbolic release of balloons, honouring the spirit of murdered Pakistani editor
and columnist Murtaza Razvi.
The journalists are taking part in the Asia Journalism Fellowship (AJF,
http://www.ajf.sg), a sabbatical programme of Temasek Foundation and NTU’s Wee
Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
Razvi, who spent three months in Singapore in 2009 as a Fellow in AJF’s
inaugural round, was killed two weeks ago in Karachi at the age of 48.
He was renowned in Pakistan as an outstanding and courageous journalist, and
warmly remembered by the AJF Class of 2009 as a gregarious and generous human
Stressing the importance of media freedom in furthering the public interest,
journalists gathered at the event called on governments in Asia to act against
the impunity that currently envelops crimes against media workers.
“As journalists from diverse media traditions in Asia, we collectively
affirm journalism’s role in advancing our communities’ collective interests, a
responsibility that we believe is best fulfilled in an environment that respects
human rights, including freedom of expression,” they said in a joint statement.
"We call on governments in Asia to address urgently the impunity that
surrounds crimes against journalists,” they said.
Addressing the Fellows, Maria Mercedes Robles, the secretary-general of the
Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, paid tribute to the
“We should be grateful that we have heroic deeds of journalists from all
over the world which can instigate change and which can inspire the journalists
of tomorrow,” she said.
The 2012 Fellows and other guests released 60 balloons into the evening sky,
one for each journalist who has passed through the AJF programme since its
launch in 2009.
Razvi was represented by a single red balloon, released by compatriot Gonila
Gil, minority affairs reporter of Daily Ajjkal in Lahore.
“Murtaza Razvi was respected as a nice human being, highly educated and one
of the most well mannered journalists in Pakistan. We need to learn from his
devotion to journalism, she added.
World Press Freedom Day: 3 May was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the
United Nations General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at
the 26th session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991.
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