Pakistan’s Press Freedom Rankings Remain Abysmal


May 3 is celebrated as World Press Freedom Day the world over. Pakistan’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index may have improved since last year but it still remains a country where journalists and media workers continue to report restrictive working environments and a pervasive culture of self-censorship.

In a statement released on May 3, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called upon the Pakistani state “to ensure fair and timely compensation for journalists and media workers, institute mechanisms to protect them from attacks, and hold accountable perpetrators of their arbitrary detentions to protect the right to freedom of expression.”

As HRCP noted, media workers “continue to be threatened, attacked and disappeared in their line of work with alarming frequency—the latest Global Impunity Index ranks Pakistan 11th among countries for impunity in killings of journalists. HRCP is further alarmed to learn that prominent journalist Hamid Mir has recently received death threats for his comments online supporting free speech, with little action from state and law enforcement authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

HRCP called upon the state to end “repressive and abhorrent practices” and warned “the fourth estate, press freedom is vital to the functioning of a healthy democracy. The state must demonstrate its commitment to protect press freedom, and uphold the rights to life, job security, free speech and fair wages for all journalists and media workers, particularly those with dissenting views and opinions.”


Author: Adam Ahmad