The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has issued the “Pakistan Press Freedom Report 2022”. According to the report, the freedom of media in Pakistan faced worsening scenarios of peril in 2022 whereas freedom of speech was continuously suppressed and sabotaged. Pakistan Media Freedom Report 2022 also revealed that four media persons were killed during the performance of their duties.
The inhumane murder of well-known anchor and journalist, Arshad Sharif, Athar Mateen, and Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi has exposed the mendacious claims of media freedom by the government and authorities. Similarly, the death of Sadaf Naeem, a female reporter, and journalist, during the performance of her duty as a consequence of substandard safety measures.
CPNE issues ‘Pakistan Press Freedom Report 2022’
The report revealed that the most gruesome murder case in the line of duty is of Anchor & Journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya. The dreadful murder of Arshad Sharif does not only threaten the Pakistani Journalists carrying out international-level investigative journalism but also inculcated fear in prospected candidates and those willing to join the media profession.
Undemocratic black law, passed by PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crime), is still forcibly being implemented. Some of the clauses negatively impact journalism and freedom of expression. During the past year, threats and attacks faced by media personnel in the context of freedom of expression, have contradicted the claims of democratic government in Pakistan and reflected the authoritarianism system.
According to CPNE’s report, in 2022 journalists, media employees, and media organizations were subjected to anti-media activities as a result of intolerance and prejudice against media. In more than 28 incidents, 13 journalists faced violence, households of 2 journalists were attacked, 10 journalists were arrested and cases were lodged against them, and 3 female journalists were harassed. In remuneration of factful and truthful reporting about floods and affectees in Sindh, along with Ilyas Samoo, the journalist from Keti Bandar, many journalists from different areas of Sindh were arrested on false allegations under Anti-terrorisms Act.
The case based on false allegations against Waqar Satti, an Islamabad-based journalist, under Blasphemy Act is still pending irrespective of clear instruction by High Court. Moreover, journalists also face self-censorship and other restrictions. Also, in 2022, online harassment against journalists continued.
Freedom of media and freedom of expression in Pakistan on the latest world index ranked 157th which is 12 points worse off, compared to the year 2022.
Online trolling was carried out against numerous male and female journalists including Shifa Yousafzai, Ghareeda Farooqi, and others.
Journalists and employees of media organizations faced nonpayment of salaries in addition to several other issues. However, continued efforts by CPNE resulted in the implementation of media policy by the PTI-led previous federal government for direct payments to media organizations instead of payment through advertising agencies improvement.
It depicts that for freedom of expression, federal and provincial authorities are non-serious. As mentioned in the report, legislation for the protection of journalists and the establishment of the Journalist Protection Commission under the headship of the Retired Justice Rasheed A. Rizvi is considered to be a prospective act but still waiting for implementation.
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has warned in its report that history is the witness of major incidents and downfalls like Sakoot-e-Dhaka (Fall of Dhaka), under the consequences of sabotaging media freedom. Subsequently, patriotism calls for policies as per media suggestions so that democracy prospers, and freedom of expression revives for the betterment of society. CPNE pledges to confront any oppression and will never compromise on freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
Check out the Full Report Here