Pakistan’s Media Under Constant Establishment and Govt. Pressure

Pakistan has one of the worst records when it comes to fair treatment of the media and press. Recently the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued summons to senior officials from the Ministry of Interior, FIA and Islamabad Police “in response to a petition complaining that journalists were facing increasing cases of intimidation at the hands of security agencies. The court order also made a reference to a press release issued by the FIA stating that criminal cases had been registered against some journalists because they had reported against the judiciary. “The press release creates an impression as if criminal cases were registered at the behest of the judiciary, and in doing so it portrays the judiciary to be inimical to the guaranteed fundamental right of a free press,” the court order regretted.”

 

According to an editorial in Dawn, “The last few years have seen heightened pressure on media organisations as a whole as well as on individual journalists. The financial and editorial squeeze has had an adverse impact on the industry and also diluted the quality of independent journalism. A large number of journalists have lost their jobs while others have had to endure salary cuts. There have been numerous cases of physical assaults on journalists and hardly any of the perpetrators have been caught by the law-enforcement authorities.”

 

The Dawn editorial concludes by noting “For the discerning observer, it is not difficult to recognise a distinct pattern. There is a deliberate and well-considered effort by the authorities to bring the media to heel and curtail space for criticism. All this flies in the face of constitutional guarantees for the freedom of expression.”

Author: Sohail Ahmed

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