PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – November 2021
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. 2, No. 11 – November 2021 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
PEMRA directs television channels to flash political map before 9pm bulletins
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) directed all public and private television channels to flash the political map of Pakistan before airing news bulletins at 9pm.
National Assembly passes Protection of Journalists, Media Professionals Bill
The National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021, which would provide for establishing a commission for the protection of journalists and media professionals in the country.
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
Date: November 6, 2021 – Source: The News
Tributes were paid to the late senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai as the 5th Amir Ahmad Siddiqui Media Awards were given away to excelling journalists at a ceremony organized in Peshawar.
Date: November 7, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune
Amid the buzz around ‘hybrid threats’, the role of the media has occupied center stage. From dispelling fake news to cultivating a soft image, many experts see a responsible and independent media industry as a first line of defense.
Pakistan Television serves former cricketer with Rs100 million recovery notice
The state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTVC) served former cricketer Shoaib Akhtar with a recovery notice worth Rs100 million in the wake of his on-air spat with anchorperson Dr Nauman Niaz during a show that prompted the former pacer to resign from the channel.
Date: November 14, 2021 – Source: Dawn
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) conferred the 2021 Nisar Osmani Award for Courage in Journalism on the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) for its struggle for the rights of journalists and freedom of press in Pakistan.
PEMRA stops airing of CCTV footage in Noor Mukadam murder case
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) stopped television channels from airing CCTV footage showing Noor Mukadam’s unsuccessful attempt to escape from the house where she was murdered.
Date: November 19, 2021 – Source: Dawn
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) suspended a decision by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to remand a defamation case against ARY Network’s chief executive back to the trial court.
Date: November 21, 2021 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said that some clauses of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a media person and should have been avoided.
Date: November 23, 2021 – Source: Dawn
Social media platforms have mirrored as well as added to the polarized times. Mainstream media itself is dividing along political lines and becoming an echo chamber for its target audience. However, despite all problems, it still is easier to hold mainstream media responsible for misleading or incorrect news.
Victims allowed to claim defamation against former judges, does not constitute as contempt
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed that contempt of court laws do not apply to criticism of retired judges and victims of any remarks thereof can claim defamation through legal channels.
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
Date: November 2, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)
Daily Awaam, a local daily published from Swat, published an announcement that informed readers about its temporary closure due to loss of revenue from advertisements sanctioned by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government.
Date: November 12, 2021 – Source: Dawn
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s directorate of information released advertisements worth more than Rs1.4 billion to regional and national newspapers published from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad and Rawalpindi during the last three years.
Date: November 14, 2021 – Source: Dawn
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected a petition against an earlier order passed by the Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE) requiring the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to auction a plot in Islamabad and pay its proceeds to workers of now defunct daily The Muslim.
Date: November 22, 2021 – Source: Dawn
Daraz paid $1.5 million for the rights to stream live matches from the T20 World Cup and secured a net profit of around 30 per cent. The rise of digital streaming in Pakistan may well signal the downfall of television viewership in the country.
Date: November 23, 2021 – Source: The News
The Sindh government decided to forward a summary to the chief minister regarding establishing an endowment fund for welfare of journalists working in the province.
Date: November 23, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) distributed Rs18 billion from the national exchequer to preferred journalists and media channels during its last tenure.
Media bodies urge governments not to use advertisements as control tool
The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) condemned the use of advertisement distribution as a form of coercion by governments to influence editorial policy of media houses and newspapers.
Maryam Nawaz’s admits her audio tape regarding advertisement distribution is authentic
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz confirmed the authenticity of a viral audio clip in which she could be heard issuing instruction to her media team to stop distribution of advertisements to certain advertisement channels.
Date: November 26, 2021 – Source: Dawn
A leaked audio recording confirmed by Maryam Nawaz as authentic confirmed that successive governments had used the distribution of advertisements to reward or punish media organizations in Pakistan.
Committee formed to probe contents of Maryam Nawaz’s audio regarding ads distribution
The Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting constituted a committee to probe the contents of Maryam Nawaz’s leaked audio clip regarding distribution of advertisements to television channels.
CPNE condemns Maryam Nawaz’s statement regarding unfair distribution of advertisements
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) condemned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s confessionary statement regarding unfair distribution of advertisements to media houses and the banning of advertisements for certain media groups.
PTV Sports gets relief in broadcasting dispute with Pakistan Cricket Board
A civil court in Lahore barred the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from granting broadcast rights to any private television channel during proceedings of a writ petition filed by Pakistan Television (PTV) Sports against the Board.
Minister quits Punjab cabinet citing conflict of interest over news channel ownership
Punjab senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan announced his resignation from the provincial cabinet on the pretext that he owned a news channel and wanted to maintain impartiality by stepping down as member of the government.
Senate panel takes up media advertisements issue
The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was told that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had given advertisements worth Rs9 billion to the electronic media from 2013 to 2017.
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
Date: November 1, 2021 – Source: Dawn
Ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published a report that ranked Pakistan as ninth out of 12 countries where journalists have been killed and the perpetrators are still at large.
Date: November 1, 2021 – Source: Dawn
Media in Pakistan continues to work within an increasingly repressive environment with attacks on press freedom coming from all fronts and space for free expression shrinking. This abysmal situation was highlighted in three reports compiled by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and Freedom Network (FN).
Crackdown on dissent; Two dozen journalists prosecuted under PECA in two years
At least 23 Pakistani journalists have been targeted under the country’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 in the last two years, establishing a pattern of using threat of legal action to silence dissent.
Date: November 2, 2021 – Source: The News
Pakistan is often described as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists and most of those killed are reporters who struggle to make ends meet and fulfill professional responsibilities in the most dangerous parts of the country.
Date: November 2, 2021 – Source: Digital Rights Foundation (DRF)
According to a survey conducted by Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), 78 per cent journalists in Pakistan complained of facing harassment, personal attacks and threats of physical violence on online platforms and social media while fulfilling their professional duties.
Date: November 3, 2021 – Source: Dawn
As the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists was observed on November 2, it emerged that the federal government had yet to devise a mechanism to record data related to attacks on and threats against journalists in Pakistan.
Date: November 3, 2021 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Speakers at a seminar in Karachi urged the Sindh government to establish a Commission to ensure protection of journalists under the ‘Sindh Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Act, 2021.
Citizen journalist who filmed illegal hunting found dead
The body of a citizen journalist, Nazim Jhokio, who was allegedly tortured to death, was found at the residence of a provincial lawmaker from Sindh. Jhokia had earlier filmed and published a video of illegal hunting in his village by the accused lawmaker and his foreign accomplices.
Rights activists condemn murder of citizen journalist and demand swift justice
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Freedom Network (FN) condemned the murder of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio, allegedly at the behest of a local lawmaker from Sindh, and demanded from authorities to provide swift justice to Jhokio’s family.
Government MPA remanded to police custody in citizen journalist’s murder case
A local court in Karachi sent Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker from Sindh Jam Awais Khan Jhokio on a three-day remand to police custody in a case pertaining to the murder of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio.
Prime Minister takes notice of citizen journalist’s murder
Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the murder of Nazim Jhokio, a citizen journalist who exposed illegal hunting in his native village, and ordered Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to visit and express condolences to bereaved family members.
Date: November 6, 2021 – Source: The Print
Yet another reporter was murdered in Pakistan, a country that sits fourth in the International Federation of Journalists’ list of ‘dangerous’ countries. This time it was a Karachi-based reporter who filmed and published a video exposing illegal hunting by a local lawmaker and United Arab Emirates’ nationals.
Date: November 6, 2021 – Source: Dawn
A postmortem examination performed by the additional police surgeon on the body of Nazim Jhokio, a citizen journalist murdered in Karachi for exposing illegal hunting, found ‘severe torture marks’ all over the body.
Date: November 6, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune
In Pakistan, over 138 journalists have been killed since 1990 mainly for unearthing corruption and abuse of power. Several governments have put in place draconian laws to ‘keep a tight leash’ on journalists working in the cyberspace and digital sphere.
Date: November 7, 2021 – Source: Dawn
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail hinted at forming an independent ‘federal’ joint-investigation team (JIT) to probe the murder of citizen journalist and blogger Nazim Jhokio and alleged that the Sindh government does not seem to be ‘serious’ about conducting impartial investigations.
Date: November 8, 2021 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
In its two recent reports, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) listed in detail how working environment was increasingly becoming repressive for journalists and independent media in the country.
Citizen journalist gunned down in Malakand
Social activist and citizen journalist Muhammad Zada Agra was gunned down in Malakand by unidentified men days after he spoke about alleged corruption and the drugs business in front of senior government officials.
Date: November 9, 2021 – Source: Duetsche Welle (DW)
Journalists in Pakistan continue to work in an increasingly authoritarian environment. They face draconian media laws and a culture of impunity for their attackers, which has opened a door to intimidation and threats on social media.
Kidnapping charges added in citizen journalist’s murder case
A kidnapping section was added to the police report in a case pertaining to the murder of citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio. The police said that besides the three suspects who have been arrested, an additional 11 people have been nominated in this case.
Date: November 12, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)
Media watchdog Freedom Network (FN) urged the Sindh government to take immediate notice of threats faced by murdered citizen journalist Nazim Jhokio’s lawyer Muhammad Khan Sheikh and his legal team for pursuing his case.
Police charge 32 people in journalist harassment cases in a year
Islamabad police (IP) informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) that it had, over the last year, submitted to trial courts the cases of 32 persons suspected of involvement in 16 attempts on the lives of journalists or assaulting them.
Federal minister warns media, Pakistan Democratic Movement of ‘serious beating’
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Asad Umar warned media outlets and the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance of ‘serious beating’ if they ventured towards the federal capital in form of a long march.
Date: November 14, 2021 – Source: The News
The main reason for the decreasing number of wild houbara bustards in Pakistan is illegal hunting expeditions by the wealthy. Nazim Jhokio, an amateur video reporter, was killed for filming foreigners hunting the endangered bird.
Date: November 15, 2021 – Source: The News
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned Federal Minister Asad Umar’s statement that accused media persons of colluding with the opposition, and threatened to use force.
Islamabad High Court issues contempt notices to media owner, journalists
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued contempt notices to media owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman and journalist Ansar Abbasi over publication of an investigative report that highlighted an accusation against former Chief Justice (CJP) of colluding to deny bails to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Date: November 17, 2021 – Source: Dawn
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) took notice of the allegations against former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar and summoned the journalist who broke the news on a national daily, the daily’s editor and editor-in-chief in contempt proceedings.
Date: November 17, 2021 – Source: The News
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned Federal Minister Asad Umar’s statement in which he accused journalists with colluding with opposition. The federal minister even threatened to use force against not only the opposition but the media as well.
Date: November 22, 2021 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the chasing of journalists and Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) staffers by unknown vehicles in Islamabad.
Internet connection suspended at event to censor Nawaz Sharif’s speech
Internet services were suspended at the third Asma Jehangir conference held in Lahore to censor former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address to the participants of the event.
Date: November 23, 2021 – Source: Dawn
While the third Asma Jehangir Conference held in Lahore generated plenty of controversy regarding the choice of participants and speakers invited, it would be remembered for another attempt by authorities to hinder the right of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to address participants.
Journalist’s wife attacked, issued with death threats in Lahore
An unidentified person attacked and issued death threats to wife of journalist Ahmed Noorani – Ambreen Fatima – in Lahore. Ambreen, who is also a journalist, lodged a first information report (FIR) at a local police station.
Media bodies condemn attack on journalist’s wife
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Freedom Network (FN) condemned an attack on Ambreen Fatima, wife of journalist Ahmed Noorani, and demanded that a judicial commission should be set up to probe the matter.
Date: November 28, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune
The digital revolution has evolved and expanded exponentially. A generation of engineers and students in Pakistan remain engaged in efforts that could put Pakistan on the global map as a premier drone manufacturing country.
Islamabad High Court seeks on steps taken to protect journalists
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the information and law ministries to submit a report on steps taken by the federal government to ensure the protection of journalists across Pakistan.
PEMRA issues show-cause notice to Channel 24 for airing ‘hate speech’
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a show-cause notice to Channel 24 for allegedly airing hate speech, inciting violence and being offensive to commonly accepted standards of decency.
Islamabad High Court summons government officials is missing journalist case
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) summoned Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari and the interior secretary in the case of missing journalist and blogger Mudassar Naaru.
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.