Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have attracted worldwide attention this week, with the release on bail under heavy security of Rimsha Misih, the young Christian girl accused of burning pages from the holy Qur’an. Rimsha’s case had drawn support from a range of Muslim clerics in Pakistan, after the cleric responsible for generating the case against her was detained on suspicion of falsifying evidence.

The support for Rimsha is in contrast to the public reaction to the murder of Pakistan governor Salmaan Taseer in retaliation for his support of Asia Bibi, a woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. Taseer’s assassin was acclaimed as a hero by supporters of the blasphemy law, including many lawyers.  BBC radio has just aired “Blasphemy and the Governor of Punjab”, a gripping dramatisation of the events surrounding Taseer’s death. It’s available online for the next six days. (Note that it’s preceeded by a few minutes of talkback from a previous show).

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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