125 Threat Cases Reported Against Journalists In 2023

FN Threat Data Analysis – January-December 2023

Journalists and media assistants faced some 125 cases of different nature of threats across Pakistan in 2023. Two journalists were murdered while 17 cases related to assaults resulting in injuries and 20 legal cases were also reported and documented through eight safety hubs Freedom Network is managing since 2016. 

The safety hubs are manned in collaboration with Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar press clubs besides three thematic hubs – digital, minority and women.

State threats actors, according to data with Freedom Network, were suspected to have been involved in most of these threat cases.  

The below chart gives breakup of these cases against each threat category Freedom Network monitors to combat impunity for crimes against journalists in the country. 

Categories  # of Threats 
Threat to murder 5
Threat of harm (non-murder related)13
Threat of legal action (by private party or state – law related) 
Digital threats (harassment, trolling, abuse, defamation/disinformation, hate speech, etc.)2
Murder (successful assassination attempt)2
Attempt to murder (survived assassination attempt)5
Assault without injury (manhandling etc.) 21
Assault resulting in injury17
Actual legal action (civil or criminal + specific law) 20
Digital attacks (hacking, data theft, impersonation, doxing, surveillance, phishing, coordinated campaign, etc.) 1
Arrest (based on case/FIR/formal accusation) 3
Detention (based on suspicion/without formal case)9
Kidnapping (this is done by known source)2
Disappearance (this is by unknown source)3
Defamation/disinformation (offline – not involving legal action, coordinated negative campaign, etc.)  
Hate speech (offline – with potential or intent to harm)9
Attacks on home/property/assets of journalists5
Other media professionals  
Threat to murder 1
Threat of harm (non-murder related)2
Assault without injury (manhandling, etc.) 1
Detention (based on suspicion/without formal case)1

In 2022, journalists had faced 127 cases of threats, according to data available with Freedom Network. 

Threat Cases In December 2023

Two threat cases, including assault with injury and two digital censorships of journalists were monitored and documented during December 2023.

The documentation of cases against journalists is undertaken under Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, award-winning civil liberty organisation Freedom Network is managing since 2016.

Freedom Network is manning eight safety hubs across Pakistan to monitor and document these violations and assist journalists at risks in partnership with five biggest press clubs of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar. 


Adnan Marwat, district crime reporter of the Daily Moderate was tortured and severely beaten up by a traffic warden on Darya Khan Bridge in Dera Ismail Khan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 02 December 2023 while he was performing his professional duties. 

Adnan Marwat was covering a procession while he was stopped by the traffic warden from doing his professional duty. The warden pushed and stabbed journalist repeatedly with punches on his chest. Adnan suffered injuries to his ribs and admitted to hospital.


Internet was interrupted countrywide on 07 December 2023 during Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) virtual political rally. The party resorted to this practice after it alleged government authorities were not allowing it spaces to hold rallies in connection with general elections due on 08 February 2024. 

It was revealed that government throttled the bandwidth of all platforms of YouTube, X and Facebook. That meant these platforms were not blocked but they worked very slowly and it was almost impossible to watch the virtual rally of PTI. 

Netblocks, an organization which monitors disruption of internet services confirmed the disruption of internet in Pakistan that day. Such disruption is an act of censorship, 


On 24 December 202, Fatima Razzaq, reporter of digital platform Log Sujag was harassed by five plainclothes, two of whom were armed with guns, reportedly held Fatima while she was waiting to board a bus in Rawalpindi. Fatima was waiting for bus following her days-long coverage of the Baloch women protest in Islamabad.

The men questioned Fatima about her activities at the protest, demanded the journalist hand over her camera, which she refused to do, and searched and slightly damaged her mobile phone before releasing her after 40 minutes

Threats, Attacks, and Harassment against Various Types of Media: 

One print journalist and two digital censorship received these threats during December 2023.

Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media:

Two state actors and one non state actor were believed involved in these threats these journalists faced.

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