PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – October 2020

A monthly report on trends relating to state of journalism and media rights, policies and practices

Tracking:

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. 10 October 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

Balochistan government asked to make Right to Access to Information Bill public

Date: October 5, 2020 – Source: Dawn

A consultative meeting held in Quetta was informed that the Balochistan cabinet has approved the draft Right of Access to Information Act but has not made it public so far. Members present in the meeting urged the government to make the bill public at the earliest.

Islamabad High Court remarks that no Pakistani can be declared a traitor

Date: October 17, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that no Pakistani citizen can be declared a traitor based on his views and issued notices to government agencies regarding such allegations.

Amendment to exclude parliament for right to information law opposed

Date: October 18, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Rights activists have criticized the movement of an amendment to the Right of Access to Information Act that would limit the scope of the law by excluding the parliament from the definition of public bodies, which are bound to provide information to citizens.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seeks ban on ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif’s speeches

Date: October 24, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

A supplemental resolution was put forward and passed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seeking to ban on statements of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during rallies organized by opposition parties.

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

Dawn appoints an External Ombudsman

Date: October 1, 2020 – Source: Dawn

In keeping with the internationally recognized practice of ethical journalism, veteran journalist Muhammad Ali Siddiqi has been appointed as Dawn’s External Ombudsman (DEO).

Government and media collaboration mitigated Covid-19 crisis

Date: October 4, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

As the Covid-19 pandemic hit every part of the world, news media played an important role in creating awareness among the masses. The collaboration between government authorities and media outlets allowed for the successful mitigation of the Covid-19 crisis in Pakistan.

Documentary film festival organized in Islamabad

Date: October 18, 2020 – Source: The News

Foundation Art Divvy and Pakistan National Council of Arts jointly held documentary film festivals at the Open Theatre. The films are challenging and receiving desired response from serious film fans.

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

Government urged to set up media technology city to pursue economic development

Date: October 17, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

Media and economic stakeholders have urged the government to set up a media technology city to increase economic development of the media industry and the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Pakistan.

PFUJ calls for strike over retrenchments and delay in payment of salaries

Date: October 20, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has called for a protest against continued retrenchments, delay in payment of salaries and implementation of the Eighth Wage Award and increasing censorship and press advice.

PTI government slashes advertisement budget for media by 39% since 2018

Date: October 24, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The government informed the National Assembly that it has cut down the advertisement budget for electronic and print media by nearly 39 per cent since coming to power in 2018.

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

PFUJ, HRCP slam government, Pemra over ban on speeches

Date: October 3, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday criticized the government and Pemra for imposing a ban on the broadcast of speeches of ‘proclaimed offenders and absconders’.

Ban on Nawaz Sharif’s television speeches sought by private citizen

Date: October 4, 2020 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has fixed the date for hearing a petition, seeking a ban on airing speeches of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and party President Shehbaz Sharif on television channels.

Freedom Network reports attack on vehicle of journalist by unidentified miscreants in Hangu

Date: October 5, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network

Freedom Network (FN) reported and condemned the setting of fire by unidentified miscreants to a car owned by journalist, Zahid Misri, in Hangu. The journalist’s family members had previously been targeted and attacked by the Taliban in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Detention of convict in Daniel Pearl murder case extended

Date: October 8, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Sindh government has extended for another three months the detention period of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) bureau chief Daniel Pearl.

Interior Ministry refuses to send representative to Information Commission

Date: October 9, 2020 – Source: The News

The Interior Ministry refused to send representative to the Information Commission to explain why it has refused to provide CCTV footage of the kidnapping of journalist Matiullah Jan.

Islamabad High Court bars authorities from arresting journalists over his tweets

Date: October 9, 2020 – Source: South Asia Monitor

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) barred Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from arresting a journalist over his alleged ‘objectionable’ tweets.

Supreme Court seeks record of case against Jang/Geo group owner

Date: October 9, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Supreme Court hearing a post-arrest bail plea of Chief Executive of the Jang Group of Newspapers Mir Shakeelur Rehman summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor general and asked the trial court to furnish complete update of the case.

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman’s remand extended again

Date: October 16, 2020 – Source: The News

An accountability court extended the judicial remand of Jang-Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman till November 10. Rehman has been in custody on charges of a 34 year old financial transaction case.

Information Commission panel orders ministry to provide kidnapping footage of journalist

Date: October 16, 2020 – Source: The News

The three-member Information Commission of Pakistan allowed the appeal of former senator Farhatullah Babar against the Interior Ministry and ordered it to provide the CCTV footage of the kidnapping of senior journalist Matiullah Jan to the appellant.

Freedom Network condemns mistreatment of journalist during PDM rally in Karachi

Date: October 19, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network

Freedom Network (FN) condemned the mistreatment of Samaa Television reporter, Sanjay Sadhwani, by party workers and supporters during the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s political rally in Karachi.

Senate panel seeks report on airing Indian content on television in Pakistan

Date: October 22, 2020 – Source: The News

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting directed presentation of a report regarding an Indian sports channel being telecasted in Pakistan.

Supreme Court adjourns Daniel Pearl murder case hearing

Date: October 22, 2020 – Source: The Washington Post

Pakistan’s Supreme Court adjourned for four weeks the hearing of an appeal from the family of American journalist Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of a British-born Pakistani man convicted over the 2002 beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter.

Rallies held across the country for media freedom

Date: October 23, 2020 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: South Asia Monitor

On a call of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), thousands of journalists attended protest rallies across the country where they said they resented the rapidly shrinking of space in the country for freedom of the media and announced that efforts would be launched to correct the situation.

Geo News reporter Ali Imran goes missing from Karachi

Date: October 24, 2020 – Source: The Guardian

A reporter working for Pakistan’s leading Geo News television has gone missing in the southern port city of Karachi. The Geo News bureau chief in Karachi, Fahim Siddiqi, said police had registered the journalist’s disappearance as a case of abduction without naming suspects.

Freedom Network slams delay by Sindh government in pursuing recovery of missing journalist

Date: October 24, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network

Freedom Network (FN) slammed the delay by Sindh government in registration of First Information Report (FIR) and pursuing the recovery of missing journalist, Ali Imran, from Karachi/

‘Missing’ journalist returns home safely amid country-wide protests

Date: October 25, 2020 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Print, Source 3: The News

Ali Imran Syed, senior Geo News reporter, who went missing in Karachi returned home after a day long-ordeal amid country-wide protests demanding his immediate recovery.

Karachi’s prestigious educational institute forced to cancel leading economist’s webinar

Date: October 25, 2020 – Source: Dawn

Institute of Business Administration, Karachi’s premier post-graduate institution, was forced to cancel a scheduled webinar featuring leading economist Atif Mian. The cancellation is attributed by social media activists to outside pressure by religious extremists.

Freedom Network condemns shutting of internet to limit ability of journalists to report

Date: October 25, 2020 – Source: Freedom Network

Freedom Network (FN) condemned the decision by Balochistan government to shut down internet services in Quetta to limit the ability of journalists to report activities of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s political rally in the city.

Court reserves judgement on Prime Minister’s acquittal plea

Date: October 27, 2020 – Source: The News

An anti-terrorism court reserved its judgement on Prime Minister Imran Khan acquittal plea in Pakistan Television attack case. The court will announce the judgement at a later date.

Supreme Court told that FIA and Nadra unable to trace journalist’s abductors

Date: October 27, 2020 – Source: The News

According to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, the National Database and Registration Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, Islamabad police and even the Safe City project management remained unable to detect the vehicles and persons involved in the journalist’s abduction in July.

Killers of journalists enjoy impunity against their crimes, according to new report

Date: October 29, 2020 – Source: The News

According to Global Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Pakistan ranked 9th in the list of countries where perpetrators of crimes against journalist enjoy illegal impunity.

Judicial probe sought in journalist’s abduction

Date: October 30, 2020 – Source: Dawn

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists rejected the investigation team announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan to probe the abduction of Karachi-based journalist Ali Imran Syed and have demanded a judicial probe instead.

____________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

(Visited 23 times, 11 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.