PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – July 2020

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. 1, No. 7 July 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 suspends television channel license
Date: July 4, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News
The Pakistan Electronic Media Authority Regulatory Authority suspended with immediate effect television channel 24NewsHD’s license for ‘illegal transmission of news and current affairs content’.
Pemra bars BOL News from airing content against Geo News
Date: July 11, 2020 – Source: The News
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has stopped private television channel BOL News from broadcasting or rebroadcasting any content against the Geo Group, its management and their families immediately.
Minister urges enforcement of right to information law
Date: July 11, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi has said that people under Article 19-A of the Constitution have the right to access information held by government institutions but they often violated this law and deny the citizens their right.
Pemra initiates action against cable operators showing Indian content
Date: July 23, 2020 – Source: The News
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has ordered its field staff to take action on dissemination of Indian content on television by cable operators across the country.
Islamabad District Commissioner directed to provide information under RTI Act
Date: July 24, 2020 – Source: Naya Daur
After the failure to provide the requested information to a citizen under the Right to Information Act 2017, Chief Information Commissioner has directed Deputy Commissioner Islamabad to provide the requested documents within 10 working days.
IHC seeks comments from Information Ministry regarding appointments in Pakistan television
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: The Nation
On a petition challenging the appointment of board members of the state-run TV, the Islamabad High Court sought detailed comments from the Information Ministry and the state broadcaster.
Pemra head for zero tolerance against Indian content on cable television
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Chairman Muhammad Saleem Baig urged field officers and staff to exhibit zero tolerance policy against Indian content on cable television and in case of persistent violations process for revocation of the cable TV license may be initiated.
The Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-I-Islam Bill 2020: A controversial law
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source: The News
The Punjab Assembly has upped the ante on stifling intellectual freedom in an environment where the cultural and political space is becoming increasingly securitized.
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

Journalists protest suspension of television channel’s license
Date: July 6, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Journalists held a rally in front of the Kandhkot Press Club to protest against the suspension of transmission of private TV channel ‘24’.
Bilawal Bhutto tells PPP leaders to be aggressive but polite in media
Date: July 7, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has directed party leaders to adopt an aggressive, but polite policy in the media to convey true facts to the people.
Bilawal Bhutto, Shujaat Hussain, Fazal-ur-Rehman express concern regarding freedom of press
Date: July 7, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has written to Prime Minister Imran Khan wherein he has stated that the information minister be directed to sit with television channel owners and sort out issues. Similar concerns were expressed by opposition leaders.
Lahore High Court stays suspension of television channel license
Date: July 8, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Lahore High Court suspended the operation of the Pakistan Elec­tronic Media Regulatory Authority’s order to suspend license of a private TV channel, 24 News HD.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister fires his media advisor over corruption charges
Date: July 12, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn, Source 3: Pakistan Today
An audio tape purportedly linked to Ajmal Khan Wazir led to his sacking as adviser to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on information and public relations.
Distressed media
Date: July 17, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Like other front-line responders, media personnel are also caught in intense conflict as they are endlessly monitoring, collating and reporting on the pandemic amid other challenges and absorbing suffering every day.
Minister says press officers should uphold name of Pakistan
Date: July 18, 2020 – Source: The News
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz called upon the press officers to perform with commitment and devotion to uphold the name of motherland in the comity of nations.
Only 1 in 3 newspaper editorials concerns themselves with health and social issues
Date: July, 2020 – Source: Gallup and Gilani Pakistan
The report suggests that editorial sections of newspapers in Pakistan are becoming less concerned with health-related and social issues. Instead, these sections focus on themes such as security, crime, terrorism, sports, and international relations.
Journalists need to show spirit they exhibited in Matiullah Jan case
Date: July 24, 2020 – Source: The News
It is high time that all media houses and journalist bodies wake up like they woke up in Matiullah Jan’s case to defend the freedom of the press and for the protection of journalists and for their welfare.
PFUJ urges Supreme Court to review order in Justice Isa case
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists requested the Supreme Court to recall its order of June 19, 2020 to the extent of direction given to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) after the full court squashed the presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
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

Increase in license fee to put state-run television on path of development
Date: July 20, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: The Nation
Federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, Chairman PTV Arshad Khan and Managing Director Amir Manzoor have said that the increase in license fee will put Pakistan Television on path of development.
Cabinet puts off Pakistan television fee hike proposal
Date: July 22, 2020 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Dawn, Source 3: 24 News
The federal cabinet put off a proposal to charge Rs65 more from the public every month for the Pakistan Television license fee after some ministers expressed their reservations over the move.
Paksat International’s dues to state-run Pakistan Television surge to $4.85 million
Date: July 23, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: News Box Pakistan
The state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation Limited has been facing default like situation as its due payment to Paksat International surged to $4.854 million till June 30, 2020, creating financial difficulties for the country’s space satellite program.
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

Pakistan Bar Council term Mir Shakil ur Rehman’s continued arrest unjustified
Date: July 6, 2020 – Source: The News
An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of Pakistan Bar Council held in Lahore reaffirmed that the continued arrest of Mir Shakil ur Rehman was unjustified and mala fide.
Three Pakistan Bar Council representatives to attend Mir Shakil case hearing
Date: July 6, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The executive committee of Pakistan Bar Council decided that three senior lawyers would attend the hearing of the case against Jang group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
Pemra guard fires shots into air during protest by journalists
Date: July 7, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has condemned the firing incident that took place during a protest organized by journalists outside the office of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Lahore High Court denies bail to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman; PBC, SCBA decry decision
Date: July 8, 2020 – Source: The News
The Lahore High Court dismissed the post-arrest bail petition of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a case relating to a property transaction that took place 34 years ago.
Plea to arrest Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief’s wife and children
Date: July 10, 2020 – Source: The News
The Lahore High Court sought reply from the National Accountability Bureau chairman and others within two weeks on a petition questioning faulty investigation in illegal plots allotment case against Editor-in-Chief of Jang-Geo Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
Jang editor benefitted from exemption policy, rules Lahore High Court
Date: July 11, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Detailed judgment released by a LHC two-judge bench on post-arrest bail of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakil ur Rehman holds the record proved that the petitioner procured valuable property against “exemption policy” by corrupt, dishonest and illegal means in connivance with co-suspects.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists urges government to end politically motivated cases
Date: July 12, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has urged the government to withdraw politically motivated cases against Jang Geo group’s owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and probe into the harassment being faced by his family.
International Press Institute urges PM to ensure safety of six Pakistani journalists residing abroad
Date: July 16, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The International Press Institute in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed its extreme concern for the safety of six Pakistani journalists currently living in Europe and America.
Islamabad High Court dismisses plea for contempt proceedings against journalist
Date: July 16, 2020 – Source: Dawn
While the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the alleged contemptuous tweet by a journalist, the Islamabad High Court in an identical matter observed that dignity of judges is not “so frail and vulnerable so as to be harmed by a tweet on the social media”.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists seeks withdrawal of contempt notice against journalist
Date: July 17, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Naya Daur
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has said that the journalist community stands by court reporter Matiullah Jan against whom a contempt of court notice has been issued by the Supreme Court over his tweet about the apex court’s judgement in the Justice Faez Isa case.
Government comes under scrutiny over journalist’s abduction
Date: July 22, 2020 – Source: Deutche Welle
Activists have raised concern over a systematic harassment of independent journalists amid a shrinking space for the freedom of expression. Pakistan’s powerful military has once again been accused of silencing dissent.
Senior journalist returns home after alleged abduction
Date: July 22, 2020 – Source 1: Express Tribune. Source 2: Dawn, Source 3: Pakistan Today
Senior journalist Matiullah Jan returned home nearly 12 hours after his alleged abduction from Islamabad. He was released by unidentified persons outside the federal capital.
Freedom Network urges Balochistan Chief Minister to ensure justice for murdered activist
Date: July 27, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
Freedom Network, a media and rights advocacy firm, has urged Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan to ensure justice for Anwar Khetran, the murdered citizen journalist and social activist.
Outcry over Rangers ‘raid’ on Karachi Press Club
Date: July 28, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Voice Pakistan
The Karachi Press Club said that Pakistan Rangers personnel barged into its premises, condemning the action and terming it a violation of the sanctity of the press club.
Freedom Network condemns unauthorized entry by Sindh Rangers into Karachi Press Club
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
Freedom Network, a media and rights advocacy firm, expressed concern over the unauthorized raid by Sindh Rangers and vowed to stand in solidarity with the Karachi Press Club.
Armed men attack newspaper office in Multan
Date: July 29, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network
Around 40 armed men attacked Daily Naya Kul’s office in Multan ransacking the office and causing minor injuries to staff.
Senate chairman wants Joint Investigation Team journalist’s murder
Date: July 30, 2020 – Source: The News
Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani called for constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) with regarding to the alleged murder of a Balochistan journalist Anwar Jan.
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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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