Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010
The editor-in-chief of two Pakistani newspapers received the Golden Pen of Freedom Award today at the WAN-IFRA 2009 World Newspaper Congress – World Editor’s Forum.
Najam Sethi, editor-in-chief of the Daily Times and Friday Times accepted his award Tuesday, 1 December, in Hyderabad, India, at the opening ceremony of the conference.
“This reflects the fierce commitment and courage of South Asia’s free media to the perennial quest for reporting the truth and analyzing it without fear or favour,” he said upon receiving the award.
Sethi is known to have a more liberal and secular ideology which contrasts with the more religious Pakistan. He was given this award because of his fight against the opression he has experienced with press freedom.
“Najam Sethi has managed to anger both the extremists and the government authorities, merely by doing his job,” said Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of the World Editors Forum, who presented the award.
Sethi detailed the harassment that the Taliban, extremists, and military groups have brought against him. Sethi was imprisoned in 1999 for anti-national activities after participating in a BBC documentary speaking negatively about former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Taliban also threatened to kill him if he did not change his editorial policies.
According to Sethi, it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists to remain independent and bipartisan in his region. “Ironically enough,” he said. “The rise of the private sector has brought its own set of constraints on traditional notions of editorship and professionalism.