December 26, 2019
ISLAMABAD — Dawn on Wednesday said the global press crisis in the form of curbs on freedom of expression and killings of journalists is a “manifestation of the deeper danger to democracy.”
In an editorial titled Press freedom in 2019, the paper said over the last few years press censorship has evolved both in the west and the east. “Arrests and newsroom raids from countries with authoritarian governments such as Egypt and Turkey to ostensibly open democracies such as Australia; populist rhetoric and vilification campaigns against journalists in Brazil, Pakistan and the Philippines; oppressive laws enacted in the name of national security but abused to suppress information in Nigeria and Singapore — these are just some of ways in which press censorship has evolved.”
The paper said the number of journalists’ killings in the line of duty has declined in 2019 but added it shows that there is “increasing use of non-lethal intimidatory tactics to attack independent journalists.”
The number of journalists’ killing has come down to 47 in 2019 from 79 in 2018.
Commenting on the situation in Pakistan, the paper maintained that there is a pervading atmosphere of harassment. “In Pakistan, one need only witness how such tactics are being extended to harass and undermine NGO workers, rights activists, academics and vulnerable minority groups — even relatively powerful individuals such as members of the judiciary and the political opposition.”
Dawn did not foresee matters improving in 2020. “Going into 2020, matters are unlikely to improve. If this authoritarian ascent is to be arrested, it will require every ounce of resolve from today’s embattled journalists to lead the way for others — to read, write and resist.”
The Patriot, February 16, 2017
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