Pakistan is one of the worst countries to be a journalist or work in the media. However, it is an even more dangerous person if you are a woman journalist or commentator. While attacks on women are old, in the last year or more, there has been increasing vitriol directed against women both in the mainstream media and on social media.
A recent joint statement issued by the Coalition for Women in Journalism, The International Coalition for Women in journalism and signed by many Pakistani activists, journalists, academics and commentators calls upon “the Standing Committees on Human Rights of the upper and lower house of parliament to take notice and hold the government accountable by ensuring they acknowledge, apologize and list the actions they will now take to put an end to such a threatening environment.”
According to the online statement “Vicious attacks through social media are being directed at women journalists and commentators in Pakistan, making it incredibly difficult for us to carry out our professional duties. The target of these attacks are women with differing viewpoints and those whose reports have been critical of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s government, and more specifically its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The online attacks are instigated by government officials and then amplified by a large number of Twitter accounts, which declare their affiliation to the ruling party. In what is certainly a well-defined and coordinated campaign, personal details of women journalists and analysts have been made public. To further discredit, frighten and intimidate us, we are referred to as peddlers of “fake news”, “enemy of the people” and accused of taking bribes (often termed as “paid” journalists or lifafas).”
The complete statement is available here.