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. 11 November 2020 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

Press Clubs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reluctant to public funds record under Right to Information law

Date: November 9, 2020 – Source: The Reporters

The office bearers of different press clubs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remain reluctant to public funds related records under the Right to Information Act 2013 and continue to avoid sharing information with concerned citizens.

Islamabad High Court asks government to dispel impression of silencing media

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah asked government to dispel the impression of silencing the media and suggested a ‘meaningful’ consultation of the government and media bodies to ensure constitutionally granted right of freedom of expression.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s lawyer made Pakistan Television chairman

Date: November 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Prominent lawyer Naeem Bukhari, who lead the legal team of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan in the Panama Papers leak case was made the chairman of the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation.

Naeem Bukhari hints at ‘blackout’ of opposition on state broadcaster

Date: November 25, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: South Asia Monitor

Newly appointed chairman of Pakistan Television (PTV) Naeem Bukhari hinted at ‘blackout’ of opposition on the state-run broadcaster.

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

Progressive Panel sweeps Karachi Union of Journalists’ elections

Date: November 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Progressive Panel swept the 2020-21 elections of Karachi Union of Journalists (Barna Group). Nizammuddin Siddiqui was elected as president while Faheem Siddiqui was elected unopposed as general secretary.

The ‘soft’ use of hard narratives

Date: November 6, 2020 – Source: The News

Films and television shows are mostly viewed as an apolitical source of entertainment. However, filmmakers are using these platforms to further political and social narratives.

Cinema enthusiasts fill up PNCA amphitheater for independent film festival

Date: November 8, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Movie fans enthusiastically attended the Divvy Art Festival organized by the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) celebrating the depth of independent films being made in Pakistan.

Rawalpindi’s Shabistan cinema torn down

Date: November 22, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Shabistan, among the oldest cinema halls in Rawalpindi and a symbol of the film industry’s golden years, was torn down to make way for a commercially profitable shopping plaza.

Open air cinema planned for federal capital

Date: November 26, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) revealed plans to build an open-air, drive-in cinema in the federal capital to provide residents with safe entertainment during ongoing pandemic restrictions.

New Pakistan Television chairman’s announcement runs counter to PTI’s manifesto

Date: November 28, 2020 – Source: The News

The newly-appointed chairman of Pakistan Television (PTV) Naeem Bukhari’s categorical statement not to give any airtime to the opposition on the state broadcaster runs counter to a commitment made in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) manifesto.

The Pakistani girl with a camera and mic

Date: November 29, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Mehak Shahid used her attachment with cricket to become the first female sports journalist from Balochistan. She successfully runs her YouTube channel and aspires to promote sporting initiatives in the province.

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

PFUJ holds government responsible for retrenchments in the media industry

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn

Speakers at protest rallies organized by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) across the country said government tactics to gag media are leading to retrenchments in the media industry.

CPNE concerned over reports of quota abolition for local newspapers

Date: November 16, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) expressed serious concerns over reports of abolishing 25% quota allotted for local newspapers. The CPNE maintained that such actions would render journalists and media employees unemployed and create financial risks for these newspapers.

PFUJ for securing economic rights of media workers

Date: November 22, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: World Post

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) announced to march towards the federal capital and stage sit-in before the Parliament to win freedom of media and economic rights of media workers.

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

APNS, PBA asks government to look into prolonged detention of Jang owner

Date: November 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) asked the government to look into the prolonged imprisonment of Jang Group owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman.

Report suggests one-third of journalists facing legal cases at risk of being charged under ATA

Date: November 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

A research study found that one third of journalists facing legal cases, filed mainly by the Pakistani state, are at risk of being charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Furthermore, print media practitioners are twice as likely to be target of legal action as their television media counterparts.

PFUJ asks government for urgent legislation to protect journalists

Date: November 3, 2020 – Source: The News

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Freedom Network (FN) and other national journalists’ organizations called on the government to urgently draft legislation on protection of journalists in the country.

Prime Minister urged to enforce laws for protection of journalists

Date: November 3, 2020 – Source: Dawn

National journalists’ organizations have urged the Prime Minister to enforce laws for protection of journalists across Pakistan.

Sindh High Court irked by ‘continuous’ detention of four men freed in Daniel Pearl murder case

Date: November 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Sindh High Court (SHC) expressed serious resentment over the provincial authorities for the continuous detention of four men set free by the order of court in the abduction and murder case of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Convict in journalist’s murder acquitted in weapon and explosive case

Date: November 6, 2020 – Source: The News

An Anti-Terrorism Court acquitted a purported hitman who killed journalist Wali Babar, of a case pertaining to possession of illicit weapons and explosives.

Freedom Network welcomes release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman on bail

Date: November 9, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Freedom Network (FN) welcomed the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman on bail after 240 days in custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on ‘baseless’ charges.

Supreme Court orders release of detained Pakistani television mogul

Date: November 9, 2020 – Source 1: The Washington Times, Source 2: Arab News, Source 3: Al Jazeera

Pakistan’s Supreme Court granted bail to the owner of one of Pakistan’s largest media groups, after a months-long detention condemned by journalists and rights groups as suppression of the press.

Police arrest key accused in journalist’s murder case

Date: November 10, 2020 – Source: Quetta Voice

Balochistan Police arrested a key accused nominated in the murder of journalist Anwar Jan Khetran. The accused was arrested from Barkhan district in Balochistan.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman freed on bail after eight months

Date: November 10, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn, Source 3: Gulf Today

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) granted bail to Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman after eight months in a case relating to a 34 years-old property transaction.

Freedom Network demands end to victimization of Channel 24

Date: November 11, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Freedom Network (FN) condemned the suspension of Channel 24 since 72 days and demanded its early return to national airwaves.

Jang-Geo Group chief asked to furnish Rs10 million bond, surrender passport

Date: November 11, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The bail order issued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed Jan-Geo Group chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman to furnish surety bonds worth Rs10 million and his passport.

Leaders from political parties support live coverage of court trials

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: The News

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah said that they support live coverage of cases in the court involving corruption charges.

Jang group editor released from jail

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman was released from jail as he furnished a bail bond of Rs10 million along with two sureties with an accountability court in light of the bail granting order by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP).

Journalists under threat in Pakistan

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Pakistan continues to be ranked as of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. The bitter struggle for the media industry to survive is gravely undermining its capacity to help rulers govern justly and to disseminate objective information to citizens.

Ex-Prime Minister seeks live coverage of his accountability trial

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi filed an application before the accountability court of Islamabad seeking live media coverage of his trial proceedings in the LNG-Terminal project reference.

Journalists face increasing attacks in Pakistan

Date: November 12, 2020 – Source: Union of Catholic Asian News

According to a new research released by Freedom Network (FN), threats, attacks and harassment against journalists and media organizations in Pakistan have increased.

MMFD endorses PFUJ’s demands for free press

Date: November 17, 2020 – Source: Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD)

Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD), endorsed the demands of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) of ensuring media freedoms and abolishing censorship in Pakistan.

Lahore High Court terms FIR against journalist ‘infructuous’

Date: November 18, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Big News Network (BNN)

The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench termed the First Information Report (FIR) registered against journalist Asad Ali Toor infructuous. Toor was incriminated in a case by the Cyber Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for ‘defaming’ the army.

Islamabad High Court declines to entertain plea against broadcast ban on absconders

Date: November 20, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: The News

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that it was not in public interest to give relief to absconders as he heard a petition against the electronic media watchdog’s order that barred the airing of speeches of proclaimed offenders.

CJA welcomes experts’ report on safe refuge for journalists at risk

Date: November 24, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) welcomed the report of the Independent High-Level Panel of Legal Experts (IHLPLE) on media freedom and urged the Commonwealth governments to implement its recommendations to provide safe refuge to journalists at risk.

Commonwealth governments urged to provide safe refuge to journalists at risk in Pakistan

Date: November 26, 2020 – Source: The News

The third report presented by the Independent High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on media freedom urged Commonwealth governments to ensure journalists at risk are provided safe refuge and can apply for refugee status from within their home countries.


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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