Published On: Wed, Jan 20th, 2021
Published in Category: Killing

Eight journalists killed and several others abducted, threatened in 2020

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Lahore: During the year 2020, at least 10 Pakistani journalists were killed in the line of duty and several abducted, tortured, and received threatening calls, states the report issued by CPNE on the state of media in Pakistan.

This year has brought the severe challenge in every walk of life; similar to the media has also deals with covering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Likewise, to the media in other countries, Pakistani media has also confronted with the unique new challenges both in terms of content to cover as well as in the nature of the measures to restrict press freedom and the free flow of information in the country.

CPNE in its yearly report on media in 2020 said that more than eight journalists have been died of COVID-19 across the country and number of journalists effected of COVID-19 and recovered.

Books of Muhammad Hanif and Sohail Warach were confiscated in Lahore and Karachi by the authorities.

Pakistan Rangers personnel barged into its premises of KPC on 27th of July. They violate the sanctity of the Press Club.

Senior PTI leader Jahangir Tareen sends defamation notices worth Rs1 billion each to anchorpersons Shahzeb Khanzada and Waseem Badami for making “false imputations” by investigate “causing artificial inflation of refined sugar” across the country in their current affair programs, which aired on 21st and 23rd January respectively.

During the year several newspapers shut downed their business. The federal information ministry has de-notified more than 6,000 publications after being identified as dummy papers.

At the same time, the Office of Press Registrar, Ministry of Information, has given a deadline of April 15 to all presses printing newspapers to fulfil all regulatory requirements. After de-notifying, the press registrar of the information ministry has written letters on 6th June, to the provinces to stop functioning and cancelled NOCs of all unregistered publications, printing presses and news agencies.

PBC has terminated the services of Radio Pakistans’ 749 contractual employees across the country without giving any notice to them on 21st Oct. PBC had also terminated the services of Radio Pakistans’ 320 contractual employees two month earlier.

At least two media persons who couldn’t manage job stress and lost their life, one of them is a cameraman Fayaz Ali, who was associated with Capital TV, died of cardiac arrest on 23rd of January after he was denied salary for 10 months and then fired from his job.

And other one is Mazz Akhtar, who was associate producer at Bol News commit suicide on 5th November for not able to fulfilling their family’s needs due to holding up his salary for few months.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on numerous examples try to control media by both mean, issued bundle of notices to TV channels unnecessarily and legislate in law to full-fil their wish on what the media can cover and what could be unacceptable.

After controlling traditional media now government trying to control new media as well by proposed regulations of web TV and over-the-top (OTT) content services. But 19 organizations and 36 prominent individuals rejected this proposal.

This led to various social media companies threating to leave Pakistan and creating a grim picture for the opportunity for free expression online. Later onCommittee formed by Ministry of Information Technology to review social media rules.

On 18th November, Information technology ministry notified that social media rules “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020” have been framed under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA). In last month (18th December 2020) a petition was filled by PFUJ against this new rule at IHC, as this rule bythe government has legal cover to issue blanket bans on digital content.