PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – April 2022

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PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – April 2022

A monthly report on trends relating to state of journalism and media rights, policies and practices

Tracking:

Media related laws, policies and regulations

The state of media professionalisms

The state of media economy

Threats and attacks against journalists and information practitioners 

Vol. 3, No. 4 April 2022 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network – www.fnpk.org

SECTION 1: Media related laws, policies, regulations, mechanisms

  • Freedom of expression (FOE)
  • Right to information (RTI), access to information (ATI)
  • Federal and provincial governments (relevant ministries and departments)
  • Media related regulators (PPC, PEMRA, PTA)
  • Regulatory issues related to print, electronic and digital media

Federal government announces disbanding of media regulatory authority

Date: April 20, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Pakistan Today

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murriyum Aurangzeb announced the scrapping of Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) in ‘whatever shape of form it was’ and vowed that no law would be enacted that restricted freedom of speech.

Court orders government to abide by PIC decision and release Toshakhana details

Date: April 21, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Daily Times

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the federal government to issue the details of toshakhana gifts received by former Prime Minister Imran Khan as there was no stay order against the decision by the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) regarding provision of these details.

SECTION 2: The state of media professionalisms

  • Media independence issues
  • Public interest journalism practices and challenges
  • Ethical journalism issues
  • The state of thematic journalism
  • Community-focused media
  • Misinformation / disinformation / fake news

Minister appreciates role of press clubs in resolving issues faced by journalists

Date: April 2, 2022 – Source: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

Addressing the launching ceremony of establishment of digital studios of press clubs, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that press clubs across Pakistan play a pivotal role in affairs of journalists and resolving issues faced by them.

ISPR denounces BBC story about removal of key officer of armed forces

Date: April 11, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Gulf News

Pakistan Army’s public relations wing the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) slammed a story published on BBC Urdu’s website as baseless and ‘a pack of lies’. The story was about the events that took place hours before passing of a no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

When all fails, radio rescues people in distress

Date: April 18, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

Modern communication systems may seem robust, but they prove useless during disasters for want of power or due to spotty network coverage. In such emergencies, it is still the good old amateur radio technology that provides communication links and saves lives.

Pakistan seeks reply from BBC over ‘fabricated’ news

Date: April 21, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan sought a reply from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing a ‘fake and fabricated’ news story pertaining to events that took place inside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Islamabad.

Sharjeel Memon takes oath as Sindh information minister

Date: April 23, 2022 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: The Frontier Post

Announcing a reallocation of ministries, the Sindh government inducted Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sharjeel Inam Memon in the provincial cabinet as Sindh information minister.

Government, JAC agree on legislation to eliminate dissemination of fake news

Date: April 24, 2022 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murriyum Aurangzeb said that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of journalists agreed on legislation to eliminate dissemination of fake news, and for the purpose, a clause would be inserted in the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) law.

ARY News served PEMRA notice on ‘fake news’ attributed to Pakistani envoy

Date: April 24, 2022 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a show-cause notice to ARY News, claiming the channel had aired fake and unverified news about the stance of Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Asad Majeed, regarding the controversial ‘conspiracy’ letter.

Ishaq Dar donates defamation victory money against ARY News to charity

Date: April 28, 2022 – Source: The News

Pakistan’s former Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar donated the proceeds of his United Kingdom High Court defamation case victory against ARY’s UK broadcaster NVTV to a charitable trust for the welfare of poor people.

Action sought against film for ridiculing trans people

Date: April 27, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune

The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Human Rights and Minorities on a petition filed by a transgender person challenging an objectionable dialogue in an upcoming film.

Judge claims television channel running organized campaign to undermine judiciary

Date: April 30, 2022 – Source: The News

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that ARY News ran a systematic campaign based on an imaginary narrative to undermine the judiciary and damage the credibility of the judicial system in the eyes of the public which entails serious and disastrous repercussions.

SECTION 3: The state of media economy

  • Economic landscape of media industry
  • Impact of Covid-19 on media resilience and sustainability
  • Government and private advertising for media industry
  • Advertising sector and its interface with media industry
  • Business viability and sustainability of media
  • Wages, salaries and arrears of journalists and media practitioners

PFUJ hopeful about relief for journalists after PM Shehbaz Sharif’s speech in National Assembly

Date: April 16, 2022 – Source: The News

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to act positively to fulfill his commitments made in his inaugural speech in the National Assembly to resolve financial and professional problems faced by journalists in the country.

Federal Investigation Agency instructs banks to defreeze journalist’s accounts

Date: April 23, 2022 – Source: The News

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the Sindh High Court (SHC) that it had asked associated banks to defreeze bank accounts operated by journalist and media owner Mohsin Baig.

CPNE hopes new PIO will ensure transparent distribution of advertisements

Date: April 23, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Secretary General Amir Mehmood welcomed the appointment of new Principal Information Officer (PIO) Mubashir Hassan and hoped that he will put an end to nepotism and make the distribution of advertisements for newspapers fair and transparent.

Radio conversion to digital technology to cost Rs3.5 billion

Date: April 28, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Officials of the information ministry informed a parliamentary committee that the ‘Digital Radio Migration’ project to convert radio from analog to digital technology would cost approximately Rs3.5 billion.

SECTION 4: Threats and attacks against media and information practitioners, including online

  • Murders and killings
  • Kidnappings and abductions
  • Arrests and detentions
  • Threats – verbal and written
  • Harassment and intimidation – offline and online
  • Surveillance, hacking and data breaches
  • Legal cases for journalism-related work or free speech
  • Impunity of crimes against journalists
  • Censorship

FIA’s plea to dispose of journalist’s case turned down by court

Date: April 1, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

An additional district and sessions judge turned down the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) request to dispose of a petition seeking an FIR against journalist Ghareeda Farooqui, allegedly hurting sentiments of Muslims through her statement on social media about sacrificial animals.

Pardon by family will not stop trial in citizen journalist’s murder case

Date: April 4, 2022 – Source: Dawn

An out-of-court settlement reached between lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party and the family of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio has apparently no legal value since an earlier order of a judicial magistrate to incorporate sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the murder FIR remain active.

Islamabad High Court seeks records of television licenses from PEMRA

Date: April 5, 2022 – Source: Dawn

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought all relevant records from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in a case filed by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) challenging the issuance of television licenses beyond its capacity.

Unequal justice for murdered citizen journalist

Date: April 6, 2022 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government refused a request by the provincial home department to replace the investigation officer in the murder case of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio with someone who is ‘competent, neutral and unbiased’, raising fears of elements trying to influence the investigation.

Former Minister, journalists have altercation outside Supreme Court premises

Date: April 7, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Newsroom Post

Former ministers and leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) responded harshly to questions from the press and had a heated argument with journalists during a press conference outside the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) premises.

Court seeks report on cases registered under PECA law

Date: April 8, 2022 – Source: Dawn

While hearing identical petitions, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought a report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on all cases registered under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).

Islamabad High Court dismisses case against journalist

Date: April 9, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed a case filed by former Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed against journalist Mohsin Baig under Section 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), Amendment Ordinance, 2022.

Islamabad High Court strikes down PECA ordinance, terms it ‘unconstitutional’

Date: April 9, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) struck down the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022, terming it ‘unconstitutional’ and reinforced that freedom of expression was a fundamental right.

For the sake of free speech in Pakistan

Date: April 9, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

Freedom of speech and expression are in need of being protected against gimmicks of law. It is time for media, civil society and activists to build a consensus on the propriety of free expression in Pakistan.

Relief for media as court promulgates PECA amendment

Date: April 10, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Civil society, the media and digital rights activists expressed relief when Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah passed the short order striking down the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), Amendment Ordinance, 2022.

PPP lawmakers get relief in citizen journalist’s murder case

Date: April 15, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Freedom Network (FN)

The Sindh High Court (SHC) granted three-day protective bail to a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker and two other suspects enabling them to approach the trial court in the murder case of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio and asked them to surrender before an anti-terrorism court before end of bail.

Torture on colleagues: Photojournalist body announces boycott from PTI activities

Date: April 15, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Khyber Photojournalists Association (KPA) announced to boycott from the coverage of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) activities to protest torture on colleagues and damage and theft of equipment during a public meeting.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government regrets journalists manhandling at public meeting

Date: April 16, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif visited the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) to placate journalists who were protesting the manhandling by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers at a public meeting addressed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Five journalists, writer acquitted of terrorism charges

Date: April 16, 2022 – Source: The News

Five journalists and a writer were declared innocent by an Additional Sessions Court, Sukkur, in a case registered against them by the Sukkur police under the sections of waging war against Pakistan and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

PTI supporters abuse and harass journalists

Date: April 17, 2022 – Source 1: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Source 2: Journalism Pakistan (JP)

Several journalists, including female reporters working for private news channels, were abused and harassed by supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during a political rally in Karachi.

PFUJ condemns threats made to anchorpersons

Date: April 17, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned threats made to television anchorpersons Hamid Mir and Asma Sherazi besides planned protests by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers outside their residences.

Peshawar resident held for inciting violence against journalists

Date: April 18, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Police arrested a man in Peshawar after he was seen in a viral video on social media urging Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers to kill journalists and anchorpersons critical of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Prime Minister directs authorities to ensure security of journalists, their homes

Date: April 19, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed law enforcement authorities to ensure security and safety of journalists and their homes after threats were issued against them and protests planned outside their residences by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers.

Civil society urges Sindh government not to suppress justice in journalist murder case

Date: April 20, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune

Members of civil society and human rights activists staged a peaceful protest outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to press for justice and against ‘undue influence’ by the Sindh government in the murder case of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio.

AJK President assures journalists of steps to resolve their problems

Date: April 21, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Addressing the swearing-in ceremony of the members of the Central Working Committee of the Central Press Club, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), President Barrister Sultan Mehmood said that the AJK government would take all measures to address the problems faced by the journalist community.

Freeing the Pakistani media

Date: April 21, 2022 – Source: The News

Few journalists would dispute the opinion that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) regime has left behind a legacy of crushing dissenting voices in the media, targeting individual journalists, media houses, social media opinion-makers and anyone with a pen or mic it deemed as speaking against the government.

ARY News transmission allegedly blocked during PTI’s rally

Date: April 21, 2022 – Source 1: Freedom Network (FN), Source 2: Digital Rights Monitor (DRM)

The live transmission of ARY News was reportedly blocked on some networks during Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) public rally organized in Lahore. Although PEMRA denied reports of any censorship, journalists associated with the channel tweeted condemnation of the suspension.

PTI supporters’ display of objectionable banners against female journalist condemned

Date: April 24, 2022 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Freedom Network (FN) called the display of banners by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters against female journalist Ghareeda Farooqui during a public rally objectionable and urged the party leadership to take notice.

RIUJ condemns harassment of journalist by former SAPM

Date: April 25, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalist (RIUJ) condemned the harassment of its former Vice President and journalist Aun Shirazi by former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Shahbaz Gill in the presence of former premier Imran Khan.

Reporter critically injured in attack on life in Kabirwala

Date: April 25, 2022 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Zia-ur-Rehman, a reporter working for Seven News, received bullet wounds to his head and was critically injured in an attack on his life by unidentified persons in Kabirwala. Journalists’ organizations called for law enforcement authorities to apprehend the culprits at the earliest.

PFUJ presents charter of demands to government

Date: April 25, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) presented a 20-point charter of demands to the federal government, calling for an end to ‘state persecution of journalists’ in the country. The demands include an end to policies that led to a financial crisis in the industry.

District administration asked to resolve press club building issue

Date: April 25, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Chairman Attock Press Club (APC) Sheikh Faisal said the district administration had ‘illegally’ occupied the press club’s building for eight years despite efforts by journalists to resolve the issue. He urged the administration to vacate the building so the press club could function effectively.

Journalist files complaint with FIA against display of offensive placards

Date: April 26, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Journalist Ghareeda Farooqui filed a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against workers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) who displayed offensive placards against her during the party’s public rally in Lahore.

86 attacks against media practitioners in one year, Islamabad riskiest place to practice journalism

Date: April 29, 2022 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Freedom Network (FN)

According to the State of Press Freedom Report 2022 released by Freedom Network (FN), 86 cases of attacks and violations against media practitioners, including journalists, took place in Pakistan over the course of one year with Islamabad termed as the riskiest place to practice journalism in the country.

FIA told not to ‘unnecessarily’ harass television anchorperson

Date: April 29, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Digital Rights Monitor (DRM)

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from ‘unnecessarily harassing’ journalists and sought a report from the agency on a petition filed by television anchorperson Arshad Sharif.

Journalists succumbs to bullet wounds received while on duty

Date: April 30, 2022 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Zia-ur-Rehman, a reporter working for Seven News, succumbed to bullet wounds received while fulfilling professional duties and died in a hospital in Kabirwala. Media organizations urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to ensure that perpetrators of the attack are brought to justice.

OBJECTIVES: This series of monthly report aims to:

  • Monitor the state of policies, regulations and mechanisms governing the media sector in Pakistan; the state of freedom of expression and right to information environment in the country and how these interfaces with media freedoms allowed or restricted via media regulations governed by the print, electronic and internet regulators.
  • Track the state of media professionalisms in the country including ethical and public interest journalism practices and challenges, and the challenges of misinformation, disinformation and fake news phenomena.
  • Follow the changing economic dynamics of the media industry and how they impact the business viability and sustainability of media and exploitation of media staff in lieu of their wages and arrears.
  • Scrutinize threats and attacks against media and information practitioners, the state of impunity of crimes against journalists and efforts to provide justice for those aggrieved and distressed.

INFORMATION SOURCES: This report monitors, among others, the following sources of information:

  • Government: Federal and provincial cabinets
  • Ministries: Related ministries, including Information and Broadcasting, Information Technology (IT) and Telecom, Human Rights, Science and Technology, Commerce and Industry, etc.
  • Legislatures: Senate, National Assembly, provincial assemblies, relevant standing committees
  • Regulators: Pakistan telecommunications Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Press Council of Pakistan (PPC), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), etc.
  • Global organizations: UN/Unesco, International Media Support (IMS), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), etc.
  • National organizations: Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), BoloBhi, Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD), Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), etc.
  • Media: Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, The Nation, Pakistan Today, The Friday Times, etc.
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Local networks: Journalists Safety Hubs Network, Alliance on Diversity & Pluralism in Media, etc.
  • Any other open public information sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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