A monthly report on trends relating to state of journalism and media rights, policies and practices
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. 1, No. 8 – August 2020 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
Pemra pledges more media coverage of Balochistan
Date: August 8, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune
During a meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Chairman Muhammad Saleem pledged more media coverage of Balochistan in national electronic media.
Minister says the Prime Minister believes in freedom of expression
Date: August 26, 2020 – Source: The News
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said that Prime Minister Imran Khan believes in freedom of expression as an independent press and democracy are inseparable.
Senate panel wants ‘industry’ status for media
Date: August 27, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune
The Senate Standing Committee on Information urged the government to grant the status of ‘industry’ to media so that journalists and other media workers could enhance their quality of work.
Senate body on information passes bill to amend Pemra law
Date: August 27, 2020 – Source: The News
The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting passed the bill to amend the Pemra law, empowering Pemra to resolve other issues including non-payment of contract salaries to electronic media workers.
Senate passes ‘Press Council Bill 2020 and ‘PEMRA Ordinance’
Date: August 28, 2020 – Source: International Federation of Journalists
Pakistan’s senate standing committee on information and broadcasting passed amendments to the Press Council of Pakistan Bill (2020) and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ‘ordinance’.
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
Pakistan Peoples Party decides to mobilize its media wing
Date: August 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Pakistan Peoples Party has begun mobilizing its information wing by holding daily video-link meetings of its office-bearers across the country.
PFUJ celebrates 70th anniversary of its foundation
Date: August 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) became the oldest union of its kind in South Asia, and possibly in all of Asia, as it celebrated the 70th anniversary of its foundation.
Pakistan Broadcasting Association accuses Axact TV channel of levelling false allegations
Date: August 9, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Broadcasting Association has filed a formal complaint with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority against M/s Labbaik (Pvt) Ltd, which owns and operates the TV channel BOL News, for using blackmailing tactics to extort business from advertising agencies.
Date: August 14, 2020 – Source: The News
Social media bloggers, artists and personalities are moving onto mainstream media as many new entrants can express themselves through the former to route themselves into the latter. The new media age is already here, and must not be retrained through red-tapism or superfluous regulatory laws.
Journalist Panel wins National Press Club election
Date: August 19, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn
Candidates from the Journalist Panel won almost all available slots in the recently held National Press Club elections in the federal capital.
Pakistan National Council of Arts gives away prizes for short film contest
Date: August 25, 2020 – Source: The News
The Pakistan National Council of Arts organized an event in Islamabad to give away prizes to the winners of their Short Films Open Contest. The contest required filmmakers to submit short films depicting the diverse culture of Pakistan.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister urges people to ignore ‘fake news’ against CPEC
Date: August 24, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune
The prime minister’s aide on information Asim Saleem Bajwa has said that attempts being made to undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through “lies and propaganda stories” and urged people to ignore such news.
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
Minister assures advertising dues to be paid on priority basis
Date: August 7, 2020 – Source: The News
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the government was aware of the problems faced by the media industry and was working to resolve them. He also noted that advertising dues were being paid on priority basis.
Journalists protest non-payment of salaries by media houses
Date: August 13, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The reporters covering the National Assembly proceedings staged a walkout from the press gallery over non-payment of salaries to the workers by various media houses despite receiving outstanding dues from the federal government.
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
Murder of a citizen journalist
Date: August 1, 2020 – Source: The Friday Times
The murder of Anwar Khetran is the first instance of a citizen journalist being killed in Balochistan. Over the last 15 years, Balochistan has been an inferno for journalists. According to the Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ), 45 journalists have been killed in the last 15 years in the province.
Abductions, Censorship and Layoffs: Pakistani Critics Are Under Siege
Date: August 3, 2020 – Source: The New York Times
Recent abductions of a journalist and an activist have underscored Pakistan’s worsening rights conditions as the country’s security forces pressure the news media and human rights groups.
Killing of Pakistani anti-corruption journalist sparks protests
Date: August 3, 2020 – Source: The Guardian
The murder of a reporter known for exposing corruption has set off a wave of protests across Pakistan’s Balochistan province, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
Court moved for release of Daniel Pearl murder suspects
Date: August 6, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune
The Sindh High Court issued notices to law officers on a plea challenging the provincial government’s second notification for extending the confinement of four men acquitted in Daniel Pearl murder case.
BBC confirms foreign journalists barred from covering Indian-occupied Kashmir
Date: August 6, 2020 – Source: The News
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) confirmed foreign journalists are not allowed to cover the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) after the Narendra Modi government revoked Article 370 in violation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, which gave a special status to the disputed territory.
PFUJ team to probe Matiullah Jan kidnapping incident
Date: August 6, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Business Recorder, Source 3: Journalism Pakistan
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an umbrella organization of all the journalist’s unions across the country, set up a six-member committee to probe the incident of kidnapping of Matiullah Jan as well as to monitor the progress in police investigation.
Police submit report to Supreme Court in journalist abduction case
Date: August 6, 2020 – Source: Dawn
As the Supreme Court resumed hearing a contempt of court case against senior journalist Matiullah Jan, the capital police furnished a report conceding that they are still waiting for replies from different departments for the assistance they had sought to unearth the kidnapping of the journalist.
Pemra for stopping exhibition of Indian content
Date: August 7, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Chairman Muhammad Saleem Baig expressed the resolve to stop exhibition of illegal Indian and indecent content on cable television and ensure that they show only legal channels and content on their networks.
Freedom Network calls on government to step up efforts to pass the Journalists Protection Bill
Date: August 7, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
Freedom Network (FN), while welcoming Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari’s statement of support for the Journalist Protection Bill, called on the government to step up efforts to pass the bill at the earliest.
Supreme Court chides police over report in journalist kidnap case
Date: August 7, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today
The Supreme Court censured the capital police chief over the report on the kidnapping of senior journalist Matiullah Jan which the court found ‘altogether unsatisfactory’.
Pakistani journalist, found dead in Sweden, laid to rest in Turbat
Date: August 9, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Months after his death in Sweden, journalist Sajid Hussain was laid to rest in Turbat district of Balochistan.
Textbook board managing director removed for ‘banning’ books
Date: August 10, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Runway Pakistan
The Punjab government has removed Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Managing Director Manzoor Hussain from his post who recently banned around 100 textbooks in the province.
Journalists opine that Mir Shakil’s arrest a lesson to media practitioners
Date: August 11, 2020 – Source: The News
A league of mainstream journalists has opined that Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman’s continued arrest should be a lesson to media practitioners across the country. Participating in a virtual dialogue session, journalists agreed that media in Pakistan is being pressurized.
Media, National Accountability Bureau and democracy
Date: August 12, 2020 – Source: The News
Across the country media workers and legal experts have been protesting in all major cities against the continued detention of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the editor-in-chief of the Jang-Geo Group.
Council of Islamic Ideology says Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman’s arrest against Shariah
Date: August 12, 2020 – Source: The News
Terming the NAB law contrary to the Islamic injunctions, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Qibla Ayaz termed the arrest of Jang and Geo Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman against Shariat.
Women journalists in Pakistan seek protection against attacks on social media
Date: August 13, 2020 – Source 1: South Asia Monitor, Source 2: Dawn
A group of well-known Pakistani women journalists has sought protection against what they termed “vicious attacks” directed at them through social media, allegedly by people linked to the ruling government.
Date: August 14, 2020 – Source: The News
A group of women journalists, political writers and commentators who are all part of the mediascape have written an open statement, condemning the abuse they face online, and asking that troll teams and those in powerful positions put an end to such attacks.
Newspaper office attacked in Peshawar
Date: August 17, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
A local newspaper office and its editor Aftab Khattak were attacked in Peshawar by unknown persons. They damaged office equipment while the editor remains in hospital due to injuries sustained during the attack.
Police foil attempt to abduct journalist
Date: August 18, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police has foiled an attempt to abduct journalist Qess Javed in Dera Ismail Khan and have arrested the abductors.
Cases of harassment against women journalists to be sent to Federal Investigation Agency
Date: August 19, 2020 – Source: The News
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party and Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the issue of harassment of women journalists would be discussed with the other political parties and the recorded statements would be pursued till their logical end.
Pakistani and Afghan journalists under attack as America retreats from the long war in Afghanistan
Date: August 19, 2020 – Source: Columbia Journalism Review
Journalists are not the only target of the drive to stifle opinion. The fight for freedom has now stretched beyond the media, into the sphere of privacy and the rights of free expression guaranteed to all citizens under both the Afghan and Pakistani constitutions.
Senior journalist claims critical journalists routinely threatened in Pakistan
Date: August 19, 2020 – Source: Duetsche Welle
Senior Journalist Matiullah Jan, who was abducted and beaten in Islamabad in July, said that journalists in Pakistan who criticize the establishment and government agencies in Pakistan face dire consequences and are routinely threatened.
Pakistan Bar Council demands recovery of abducted journalist
Date: August 22, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Abid Saqi has expressed grave concern at the continued disappearance of Mudassar Mehmood Narru, a journalist and human rights activist, whose whereabouts are not known since 2018 and has demanded his recovery at the earliest.
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.