E-Bulletin For June 2020

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. 6 June 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

Freedom of expression related troubles continue for government
Date: June 6, 2020 – Source: The News
New York Times and Washington Post have covered an incident that will add to Pakistan government’s worry about its perception of media handling and freedom of speech that has increasingly been under the limelight.
Punjab Assembly demands complete ban on blasphemous books
Date: June 6, 2020 – Source: The News
Punjab Assembly demanded complete ban on three books that were being sold in the markets with objectionable content regarding religious figures.
Provinces told to halt unregistered publications
Date: June 6, 2020 – Source: Dawn
After de-notifying more than 6,000 publications across Pakistan recently, the press registrar of the information ministry has written letters to the provinces to stop functioning of all unregistered publications, printing presses and news agencies.
Bill tabled in Senate for omitting sedition section from Pakistan Penal Code
Date: June 9, 2020 – Source: The News
A bill for omission of Section 124A (sedition) of the Pakistan Penal Code was introduced in the Senate on Monday and referred to the House Committee on consideration and report.
An archaic law whose time has gone
Date: June 10, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The government’s human rights minister has rightly criticized the sedition law as “an anachronism in an independent, democratic state”. There are other colonial-era black laws, such as contempt of court, which should also be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Online censorship serves no good purpose
Date: June 14, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The ad-hoc manner in which powers have been exercised by the government, to stifle dissent and deny due process to those against whom action has been taken — evidence of which there is plenty — substantiate that it serves no purpose other than being a censorship-enabling provision for the state.
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

Statement: Foreign dramas will ruin Pakistani productions
Date: June 1, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Pakistan Today
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary has claimed that transmission of foreign dramas in Pakistan will ruin the country’s domestic productions and entertainment industry.
Minister’s remarks against late journalist Waris Mir slammed
Date: June 6, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Daily Times
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors, Pakistan Bar Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists have condemned Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz Chohan for his malicious video statement wherein he has declared veteran journalist Prof Waris Mir a traitor.
Media reporting on crime needs to move beyond First Information Reports
Date: June 17, 2020 – Source: The News
Communication Research Strategies has launched a series of webinars focused on maturing the relationship between police and media and paving the way for police reform in Pakistan.
Another blow to media independence
Date: June 17, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The rise of ‘strongman politics across the world has seen corresponding attacks on press freedom in various ways designed to destroy journalists’ credibility and stifle their voice.
Disinformation: Dangerous information
Date: June 25, 2020 – Source: The News
In some cases, information is dangerous because it is untrue and unverified, and because social media allows it to be put across to millions within minutes.
Will the State help or hinder Pakistan’s television evolution?
Date: June 2020 – Source: The News
There are no two opinions on the fact that television needs a revival of sorts; there is a vacuum when it comes to exploration and experimentation of new ideas. To promote local content among the younger generation, new standards need to be set and worked upon.
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

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists forms body to identify causes of media industry crisis
Date: June 5, 2020 – Source: The News
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has constituted a ‘Fact Finding Committee’ comprising senior journalists to identify causes and reasons that led to crisis currently faced by the media industry.
Sindh legislator for restoring media workers’ jobs
Date: June 8, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation
Pakistan People’s Party Women Wing leader and MPA Sharmila Farooqui has demanded of the federal government to ensure immediate restoration of media workers who have lost their jobs in the present government era.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists asks government for relief package
Date: June 9, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Pakistan federal Union of Journalists leaders have asked the government to announce a special relief package for the media workers and journalist community to save the media industry from collapse.
Senate seeks response from Information Ministry regarding non-payment of salaries
Date: June 10, 2020 – Source: The News
The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting sought response from the ministry regarding the non-payment of dues by media outlets.
Rs360.9m allocated for Information Division under Public Sector Development Program
Date: June 13, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: The Frontier Post, Source 3: Business Recorder
The federal government has allocated a sum of Rs360.9 million for the Information and Broadcasting Division under the Public Sector Development Program 2020-21, including Rs50 million from foreign aid.
Sindh Information Department to clear payment against 66 newspaper bills
Date: June 19, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation, Source 3: Business Recorder
To clear the dues of different newspapers, the finance department of the Sindh government has allowed further payment against 66 newspaper bills amounting to Rs43.4 million.
PFUJ wants Pakistan Railways to restore concessional tickets for journalists
Date: June 29, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Business Recorder
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) have urged authorities at Pakistan Railways to restore concessional tickets to the journalist community and their families.
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

Judicial remand of Jang chief editor extended
Date: June 2, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation, Source 3: Daily Times
An accountability court extended judicial remand of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman in a 34-year-old case of 54-kanal land allegedly allotted to him by then Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif.
Shikarpur journalist shot at, wounded
Date: June 3, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: International Federation of Journalists
A senior journalist associated with a Sindhi daily was shot and wounded by some masked assailants near the Gul Wah area in Sindh.
Jang/Geo workers’ protest venue declared ‘Freedom Street’
Date: June 4, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: News Beat
Chairman Joint Action Committee of the workers of Geo and Jang Group Islamabad and President Jang workers Union Rawalpindi has declared the venue of protest in Rawalpindi as a “Freedom Street” in a struggle for the freedom of media and for raising the voice of voiceless people.
Continued detention of media owner protested
Date: June 5, 2020 – Source: The News
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has already been in detention for more than 80 days and will now spend even more days in detention for a case that is flimsy at its best.
Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief’s bail plea pending for over a month
Date: June 16, 2020 – Source: The News
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman chief had challenged his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau and judicial remand on constitutional and legal grounds. The petition has been pending for over a month.
Key absconding suspect in television journalist’s murder case held after nine years
Date: June 16, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune
The Karachi police claimed to have arrested a key suspect, who had been handed death sentence in absentia by an antiterrorism court, in TV journalist Wali Khan Babar’s murder case after more than nine years since the incident.
United Nations body asks government to clarify reported persecution of media
Date: June 17, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has asked the government of Pakistan to clarify the reported persecution of media and media owners, including Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman’s bail plea once again deferred
Date: June 23, 2020 – Source: The News
A division bench of the Lahore High Court again adjourned the hearing of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s post-arrest bail petition in a 34-year-old property case.
National Assembly echoes with voices against editor’s arrest
Date: June 24, 2020 – Source: The News
Members of parliament have come down hard on the government for keeping Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in detention. They further advised the government to stop victimizing political opponents.
Probe launched against torture of two journalists in Balochistan
Date: June 24, 2020 – Source: The News
Authorities have said that they have launched an investigation into torture of two journalists in Chaman. The two journalists said that they were tortured for reporting on a coronavirus quarantine center near the Afghan border.
Reporters boycott assembly session in protest against torture of two Chaman journalists
Date: June 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn
Reporters have boycotted proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly to protest the arrest and torture of two Chaman-based journalists by the local administration and security personnel.
Shrinking space for academics who teach critical thinking
Date: June 25, 2020 – Source: The News
Twitter remains abuzz with discussion about academics being fired and harassed for their political beliefs and social activism.
National Accountability Bureau files ‘baseless’ reference against editor
Date: June 27, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: The Nation, Source 3: Global Village Space
The National Accountability Bureau has filed a reference against Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a private property purchase matter.
Punjab Assembly resolution demands release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman
Date: June 27, 2020 – Source: The News
A resolution submitted in the Punjab Assembly demanded the immediate release of Jang/Geo Editor-in- Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman as well as Hamza Shahbaz and Khursheed Shah.
Supreme Court refuses to entertain Sindh government’s request in Daniel Pearl case
Date: June 30, 2020 – Source: Dawn
The Supreme Court refused to entertain the Sindh government’s request to suspend the order of the Sindh High Court which had overturned the conviction of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh for allegedly kidnapping and killing Daniel Pearl, a journalist of The Wall Street Journal.
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 interface 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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