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Press freedom in Pakistan?

Freedom of the press in Pakistan is legally protected by the law of Pakistan as stated in its constitutional amendments, however, this is only seen to be enforced when the press’s statements are in favor of the government. Journalists’ stories are frequently seen to be crushed by intimidation or other tactics when these stories go against the government narrative. However, all of this happens under a blanket of cover, invisible to the common man.

On 4/12/2021, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the government was firmly standing behind journalists. Further stating that in Pakistan, due to the lack of defamation laws, the media has more freedom than in the first world. https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/04/govt-firmly-stands-behind-working-journalists-fawad/

Then why is this freedom never apparent. Why do journalists face backlash on every work? For example, Asma Shirazi is a Pakistani journalist who hosts a primetime current affairs show on Aaj News. Upon writing a column for BBC Urdu criticizing the current economic conditions in Pakistan she faced a violent smear and hate campaign from the government. Hammad Azhar, who accused her of making “pathetic insinuations” in a tweet and Human rights minister Shireen Mazari also inflamed the Pakistani nationalist Twittersphere by referring Shirazi to a foreign agent.

Lastly, extreme measures have also been taken in order to shut down a story as seen in the case of Journalist Asad Toor and anyone who took a stand (Hamid Mir) was also reprimanded.

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4 Comments


This is a very important topic which needs to be acknowledged by our prominent media platforms. Apparently our media is free to talk and give their opinion. But in reality these media channels are owned by a few prominent social groups and ministers. So, what is shown on these channels is directly controlled by their owners. In this way any controversy or any wrong doing of them is never shown on media channels. Thus, our media does not give freedom of speech rather it is very biased and controlled accordingly.

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I personally feel that this is a really important topic to have a discussion on and I agree with you that media in Pakistan is not even close to being free. Pakistan has struggled since the start to give press freedom to journalists but there has not been much success. Statistics show that between the years 2013 and 2019, 33 journalists have been killed for their work. This raises a question in my mind that who is responsible for this and who should be held accountable? It is actually funny to see that on one hand, the government claims that media freedom is something very important without which the country can't progress and simultaneously, it introduces the formation of a…

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I agree that media in Pakistan is not free. This is also because of their focus on profit. ​The advancements in technology have made mass media the most dominant political actor. Media consumption impacts individuals by shaping their lifestyles and molding their decisions; therefore, Media should act responsibly(instead of just focusing on profit). The rise in mass media consumption has marked a drastic change in politics. Ownership ultimately determines the political and other views that the mass media disseminate, and ownership is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of global media conglomerates," therefore, promoting biased and twisted narratives to earn unethical benefits. For example, ARY, a businessman-owned network, openly supported PTI during 2018 elections "ran new stories whic…

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It is funny how someone can say that Pakistan grants more freedom of press than other countries, when journalism itself can be a death sentence for many. What’s more intriguing here is that it’s not just the opinions of journalists but blatant facts that causes backlash. In an article, (https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/03/pakistan-press-freedom-journalism-media/), it is mentioned how the military or the ISI is behind attacks on journalists. If this is true, then Hamza Alavi couldn’t have been more right when he discussed how the military controls everything in Pakistan, and politicians are mere puppets to play out their commands. It shows how good of a “democracy”, Pakistan really is.


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