Journalism Pakistan
Latest:
Indian author Arundhati Roy faces prosecution over 2010 Kashmir remarksIWMF offers funding opportunities for female journalists worldwidePTV Sports terminates Rashid Latif's contract amidst controversyYouTube unveils new features to boost creator engagement and monetizationJournalist Sophia Huang Xueqin sentenced to five years in China for subversionFarewell to Harpal Singh Bedi, a giant in Indian sports journalismPakistan Task Force on Journalist Murders formed to ensure justiceImran Riaz released after court discharges fraud caseAmeen Rajput's tragic end highlights struggles of jobless journalistsFunding available for innovative data-driven journalism projectsJournalist Hiba Abu Taha sentenced to one year in prison in JordanCable operators block four news channels in India's Andhra Pradesh state post-election

Rights groups concerned over attacks on Pakistani journalists

 JournalismPakistan.com
 June 04, 2021

Rights groups concerned over attacks on Pakistani journalists

A recent series of attacks and growing pressure on journalists who criticize the Pakistan government is a cause for serious concern, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists said. Those suspected of criminal responsibility should be promptly and fairly prosecuted.

The Pakistan government should conduct prompt, impartial, and effective investigations into the recent attacks on journalists. The government should rescind official policies that protect the authorities from criticism and instead promote space for public debate and free expression, in the face of threats from extremist groups and government officials.

“The frequency and audacity with which journalists are being attacked in Pakistan is appalling,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Pakistani authorities should bring those responsible for these attacks to justice and ensure that all journalists can do their jobs without fear of intimidation or reprisals.”

On May 25, 2021, Asad Ali Toor, a journalist, was assaulted by three unidentified men who forcibly entered his apartment in Islamabad. They bound and gagged Toor and severely beat him. Toor said that they identified themselves as being from a security agency, interrogated him about the “source of his funds,” and took away his cell phone and other electronic devices. The government ordered an investigation into the incident.

In September 2020, the authorities charged Toor with sedition for comments made on social media “maligning state institutions.” A court later dismissed the charges.

On April 20, an unidentified assailant shot and wounded Absar Alam, a television journalist, outside his house in Islamabad.  Alam has been a prominent critic of the government. In September 2020, the authorities charged Alam with sedition and “high treason” for using “derogatory language” about the government on social media.

On July 21, 2020, an unidentified assailant abducted another journalist, Matiullah Jan, in Islamabad the day before he was to appear before the Supreme Court for allegedly “using derogatory/contemptuous language and maligning the institution of judiciary.”

Jan was released after a few hours. He alleged the abduction was an attempt to intimidate him. A criminal case was registered for Jan’s abduction, but no suspects have been arrested.

“It is disturbing to see the space for dissent and providing information of public importance rapidly shrink in Pakistan, with journalists as well as human rights defenders particularly at risk of censorship, physical violence, and arbitrary detention,” said Sam Zarifi, secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists.

Pakistani journalists have long faced serious obstacles to their work, including harassment, intimidation, assault, arbitrary arrest and detention, abduction, and death. As these threats have escalated, Pakistani authorities have also increasingly pressured editors and media owners to shut down critical voices. On May 29, the news channel, Geo, “suspended” Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan’s best-known television talk show hosts, after Mir spoke at a protest in solidarity with Asad Toor.

Other media outlets have come under pressure from authorities not to criticize government institutions or the judiciary. In several cases in recent years, government regulatory agencies blocked cable operators and television channels that had aired critical programs. In 2020, Pakistan ranked ninth on the Committee to Protect Journalist’s annual Global Impunity Index, with at least 15 unsolved killings of journalist since 2010.

In July 2020, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered 24NewsHD, a television news channel, off the air indefinitely for the alleged “illegal transmission of news and current affairs content.” Journalists and opposition activists alleged that the channel was being punished for airing criticism of the government.

In August 2020, a group of leading women journalists issued a statement condemning a “well-defined and coordinated campaign” of social media attacks, including death and rape threats against women journalists and commentators whose reporting has been critical of the government.

“If the authorities are committed to uphold their human rights obligations, they must take decisive steps against censorship, harassment and violence against journalists,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, South Asia deputy regional director at Amnesty International. “For that, continued impunity must be dismantled.” —Amnesty International

PTV Sports terminates Rashid Latif's contract amidst controversyPTV Sports terminates Rashid Latif's contract amidst controversy

 June 15, 2024:  PTV Sports has terminated Rashid Latif's contract, sparking controversy and speculation. Despite a recent extension, Latif's depar...

Pakistan Task Force on Journalist Murders formed to ensure justicePakistan Task Force on Journalist Murders formed to ensure justice

 June 14, 2024:  Freedom Press Unlimited, in collaboration with the government and civil society activists, has launched the Pakistan Task Force on...

Imran Riaz released after court discharges fraud caseImran Riaz released after court discharges fraud case

 June 14, 2024:  Journalist Imran Riaz Khan was released by Lahore police after a court discharged him from a fraud case. The court found insuffici...

Ameen Rajput's tragic end highlights struggles of jobless journalistsAmeen Rajput's tragic end highlights struggles of jobless journalists

 June 14, 2024:  Journalist Ameen Rajput's tragic death underscores the severe economic hardships faced by unemployed journalists. His story highli...

Journalists protest controversial defamation law in Punjab AssemblyJournalists protest controversial defamation law in Punjab Assembly

 June 13, 2024:  Journalists stage a walkout during the Punjab Assembly's budget session in protest against a new defamation law, highlighting conc...

Journalist Sanaullah Khan's bold question stuns post-budget press conferenceJournalist Sanaullah Khan's bold question stuns post-budget press conference

 June 13, 2024:  At a post-budget press conference in Islamabad, journalist Sanaullah Khan's pointed question about budget allocation and accountab...

Finance minister announces restoration of health insurance scheme for journalists and media workersFinance minister announces restoration of health insurance scheme for journalists and media workers

 June 12, 2024:  Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb announces the restoration of a health insurance scheme for journalists and media worke...

Imran Riaz's arrest sparks legal battle Imran Riaz's arrest sparks legal battle

 June 12, 2024:  Journalist Imran Riaz Khan was arrested at Lahore Airport while leaving for Hajj and remanded in police custody for one day on fra...

Newsroom
Indian author Arundhati Roy faces prosecution over 2010 Kashmir remarks

Indian author Arundhati Roy faces prosecution over 2010 Kashmir remarks

 June 16, 2024 Indian author Arundhati Roy is facing prosecution over her controversial remarks on Kashmir made in 2010. The legal action highlights ongoing tensions and freedom of speech issues in India.

Shouting matches and disrespect: The new face of press conferences

Shouting matches and disrespect: The new face of press conferences

 June 16, 2024 Discover the reasons behind the chaos and lack of decorum in today's press conferences. Explore how aggressive journalists and the erosion of professional ethics are turning these events into shouting matches.

IWMF offers funding opportunities for female journalists worldwide

IWMF offers funding opportunities for female journalists worldwide

 June 15, 2024 Female and nonbinary journalists can apply for the Howard G. Buffett Fund through the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to support their reporting projects and professional development. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin sentenced to five years in China for subversion

Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin sentenced to five years in China for subversion

 June 15, 2024 The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the five-year prison sentence given to journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin by a Chinese court for "inciting subversion of state power." CPJ urges the Chinese government to release her immediately.

Farewell to Harpal Singh Bedi, a giant in Indian sports journalism

Farewell to Harpal Singh Bedi, a giant in Indian sports journalism

 June 15, 2024 Renowned Indian sports journalist Harpal Singh Bedi has passed away, leaving a legacy of razor-sharp reporting and heartfelt stories. Colleagues and friends pay tribute to his indomitable spirit and immense contribution to sports journalism in India.