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. 3, No. 4 April 2023 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network –

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

ECP issues code of conduct for media persons, foreign observers

Date: April 10, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today, Source 3: Business Recorder (BR)

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a 30-point code of conduct for international observers and media persons, providing guidelines for conduct, impartiality, and security during the observation and reporting of the country’s electoral process.

Journalists demand appointment of information cadre officer

Date: April 28, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The president of Peshawar Press Club (PPC) and the city’s journalist community demanded the appointment of an information cadre officer as the Director General (DG) of the provincial information department.

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

TV channel in the UK apologizes to Ishaq Dar over graft allegations

Date: April 5, 2023 – Source: Dawn

A Pakistani television channel with broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom apologized to Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after failing to prove a string of allegations against him broadcasted on their channel.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretakers order closure of PTI government’s ‘image building’ project

Date: April 6, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ordered the closure of a project involving more than 1,000 social media influencers, who were hired by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government in the province to promote its ‘positive’ image.

UK judge throws out defamation case against Geo/Jang group, reporter

Date: April 13, 2023 – Source: The News

A United Kingdom court set aside a defamation case brought by activist Shah Muhammad, against Geo News, The News, Daily Jang and correspondent Murtaza Ali Shah, ordering the activist to pay GBP 20,000 in legal costs.

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

Sindh-based journalists to get health insurance

Date: April 12, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that state-funded health insurance will be provided to all journalists and media professionals based in the province.

FBR clarifies sales tax collection mechanism for advertisements

Date: April 27, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) legally clarified the sales tax collection mechanism between the federation and provinces on the services of advertisements on television, cable television, website or webpage, internet, closed-circuit television, billboards and broadcast through satellite.

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

PTI leader threatens to put critical journalists ‘on a list’

Date: April 2, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhary once again came down hard on journalists, warning that a list of certain journalists critical of judges was being prepared and called for their boycott.

Rebuilding trust

Date: April 3, 2023 – Source: The News

A decade and some ago, mainstream media was itself part of Pakistan’s institutional tussles underway at the time – exploiting unprecedented freedoms and sky high ratings to emerge as a political player. Overreach led to the sector being cut to size, censorship, overregulation, and intimidation.

Lahore High Court issues notices to PEMRA chairman, others in contempt of court plea

Date: April 4, 2023 – Source: The News

The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman Salim Baig and director operations in a contempt of court plea regarding the ban on broadcasting speeches of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan despite a stay order.

‘It was a curse’: Journalists, activists hail annulment of sedition law as victory for free speech

Date: April 4, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) striking down of Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which constituted the sedition law, was received with a chorus of praise from journalists and activists who commended it as a triumph for the protection of free speech.

Journalist shot dead by woman in Chiniot

Date: April 5, 2023 – Source 1: Freedom Network (FN), Source 2: Pakistan Press International (PPI)

Journalist Raja Nawaz Mahi was shot dead by a woman for unknown reasons. The culprit then tried to commit suicide before being prevented by an onlooker and rushed to the hospital for medical assistance.

Supreme Court holds probes into fundamental rights issue within its purview

Date: April 6, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) held that it has the power in its constitutional jurisdiction to monitor investigations into matters affecting the fundamental rights of public at large. These views were expressed during proceedings in the Arshad Sharif murder case.

Supreme Court likely to form judicial commission in Arshad Sharif murder case

Date: April 6, 2023 – Source: The News

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) held that it may consider the formation of a judicial commission for investigating the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif if the government and Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT) failed to accelerate their task.

Court rules that loyalty to state, government must be distinguished in landmark sedition case

Date: April 7, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Issuing a detailed judgement against offence of sedition, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruled that loyalty to the state has to be distinguished from loyalty to the government whose offices are occupied by a political party as not everyone will have a doctrinal affinity with the ruling party.

PTI writes to the UN, demands ‘independent’ probe into journalist’s murder

Date: April 10, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) wrote to the United Nations (UN) demanding an ‘independent’ investigation into the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.

AEMEND terms ban on coverage of bomb blasts, firing incidents ‘illegal’

Date: April 10, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) criticized the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for imposing an ‘illegal’ ban on the coverage of bomb blasts and firing incidents.

PEMRA reprimanded for suspending TV channels, blocking speeches

Date: April 12, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting reprimanded the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for suspending transmission of news channels and blocking live speeches of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.

Senate body directs PEMRA to ensure live broadcast of speeches by all politicians

Date: April 12, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure that speeches and press conferences of all political leaders are broadcasted live without interruption in compliance with judicial orders.

Sindh High Court rejects petition against media ban on Altaf Hussain

Date: April 13, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed a petition seeking removal of a ban on media and radio coverage of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain as the petitioner was unable to ‘satisfy the bench’ regarding its maintainability.

Journalist faces harassment for exercising right to information

Date: April 13, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Sadia Mazhar, a Sahiwal-based journalist, reported facing threats and harassment from officials of public bodies in response to her information requests filed under the right to information (RTI) laws.

Kenya refuses to help Pakistan in journalist murder case

Date: April 19, 2023 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Pakistan Today, Source 3: Arab News

In response to a letter requesting fresh investigation into the murder probe of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, Kenyan authorities told their Pakistani counterparts they will no longer cooperate regarding this matter.

PEMRA starts crackdown on airing of illegal Indian content

Date: April 21, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) started a countrywide operation against cable television operators airing illegal Indian content on their networks. The regulator also warned all operators to stop airing content declared illegal or proscribed by the authority.

Journalists rally against abduction, torture of colleague in Bannu

Date: April 28, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Journalists and social media activists staged a protest in Bannu against the failure of police to register a first information report (FIR) and arrest the suspects involved in alleged kidnapping and torturing of journalist Gohar Wazir over a week ago.

Journalists’ safety

Date: April 29, 2023 – Source 1: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Source 2: Freedom Network (FN)

The abduction and torture of Gohar Wazir in Bannu isn’t an isolated event. Media authoritarianism is the new norm in Pakistan. The latest attempts at curbing free speech have left no one untouched.

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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