Islamabad is Pakistan’s capital city. It is situated in the northeast of the country a short flight away from the triumvirate of the Himalayan, Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges that boast the world’s three highest mountains, among other peaks. A relatively younger city – established in 1961 as an alternative to Pakistan’s first capital city Karachi – it is also the seat of political and military power. It is an independent self-governed territory of over two million people, the majority of whom are not native.
Significantly, Islamabad is also known for its large media concentration – perhaps unsurprising considering Pakistani conventional media’s preoccupation with reporting the State’s priorities rather than practicing public interest journalism. Even though most of the country’s media establishments maintain headquarters in Karachi considering the media market’s concentration there, many maintain large offices in Islamabad with TV studios running their prime time talk shows from offices based here where access to politicians, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, diplomats and a large concentration of civil society organizations is a big incentive.
Islamabad is also where the Pakistani media’s regulators for print, electronic and internet are based, and which remain in perpetual conflict with media houses, media rights groups, rights organizations and others over repeated attempts in recent years to browbeat the media and regulating journalism content rather than media industry. This makes the Islamabad-based National Press Club, with a membership of over 2,000 journalists, a hotbed of protests by media practitioners as well as civil liberties groups that agitate on behalf of their constituents for attention of policymakers.
In recent years Islamabad has also emerged as one of the riskiest regions of Pakistan to practice journalism with dozens of journalists assaulted, kidnapped, arrested and intimidated.
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