His Excellency Benazir Bhutto
Prime Minster of Pakistan
Office of the Prime Minister
Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Vienna, 3 July1995

Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors and media executives from newspapers, magazines, broadcasting organisations and news agencies in 85 countries, strongly condemns your country’s cancellation of some 122 publishing licences held by Karachi-based newspapers and other publications in order to prevent the re-opening of some of the papers which your government banned last week.

We have been monitoring the protest actions taken by journalists in Pakistan over the banning of publications because of what your government termed “sensational reporting” on violence in Karachi.

We understand that your government’s further expansion of censorship measures comes as a direct reaction to the protests launched by journalists against the banning last week of six Udru-language newspapers and attempts by these newspapers to re-open under new names. We find your government to be in serious error and guilty of blatant attempts at censorship and manipulation of the media.

These government sanctions against the freedom of the press have been cited as the most vicious simultaneous attack on newspapers in your country’s history and mark a disturbing new trend in the conduct of your administration. IPI strongly urges you to use your office’s influence to rectify the current state of affairs and to return to the platform of democracy and press freedom which carried you to power in 1993.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz