PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – April 2021

PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – April 2021

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. 2, No. 4 April 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

Right to information and governance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Date: April 21, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

Although the passage of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s right to information law had been heralded as a progressive move, the mere passage of law is not enough unless it is followed and implemented in letter and spirit.

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

Journalists trained on climate change reporting

Date: April 1, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Islamabad chapter in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission conducted a series of awareness-raising sessions for journalists to improve reporting on climate change issues.

Folly of narratives

Date: April 7, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Pakistan’s government must ensure that credible actions, not narratives, win in today’s misinformation-fueled world. The country’s policymakers would be well advised to recalibrate their approach towards narrative-making.

Follow-up on issues missing from today’s journalism

Date: April 11, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune

Speaking during the Razia Bhatti Memorial Lecture organized by the Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai said that journalists today have abandoned the practice of following up on stories.

Fawad Chaudhry may get information ministry soon

Date: April 12, 2021 – Source: The News

According to reliable sources, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry may be appointed as the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting.

Ruling hearts and minds of journalists, rights’ defenders

Date: April 13, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Equally committed to the rights of working journalist, I.A. Rehman was actively involved with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalism (PFUJ). He was one of those rare individuals, sought after for his advice, who have left an undying impression on all those he worked with.

Role of journalists lauded in peace restoration

Date: April 14, 2021 – Source: The News

Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaisar lauded the role of media and journalists in the restoration of peace across Pakistan.

Prime Minister vows to lead drive against blasphemy

Date: April 20, 2021 – Source: The News

Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the nation that he would plead the case of blasphemy with western nations and urge them to stop playing with sentiments of Muslims in the name of ‘freedom of speech’.

What’s playing on television channels in Pakistan throughout Ramazan?

Date: April 25, 2021 – Source: The News

Television dramas have turned to light, youthful and romantic comedies this Ramazan in Pakistan. It is admirable that writers have incorporated interests of the youth this year.

Information minister wants to boost media ties with Saudi Arabia

Date: April 27, 2021 – Source: The News

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry advocated for better media ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Pandemic shuts newspaper readers’ favorite haunt in Rawalpindi

Date: April 28, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

A temporary closure was placed on the Nazar Muslim Library in Rawalpindi following a rise in Covid-19 cases in Pakistan after a decade of unrestricted service.

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

PFUJ submits charter of demands to government

Date: April 1, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Journalism Pakistan

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) submitted a 19-point agenda charter of demands to the federal government. The charter called for the revival of media industry and safeguarding the rights of journalists and media workers.

Government, PFUJ initiate talks on revival of media industry

Date: April 8, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Pakistan Press Foundation

The federal government initiated dialogue with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on a 19-point charter of demands presented to it by the union to sort out financial issues faced by media workers and journalists across the country.

Subsidized items made available for journalists at Rawalpindi Press Club

Date: April 10, 2021 – Source: The News

Commodities were made available for purchase at subsidized prices for journalists from the Rawalpindi Press Club (RPC). The initiative was launched in collaboration with the Utilities Stores Corporation of Pakistan (USC).

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

Four FM radio stations shut down in Bajaur

Date: April 1, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune

District administration in Bajaur ordered closure of all illegal and unauthorized FM Radio stations with immediate effect across the district.

Pakistan slips on free speech index

Date: April 1, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

According to a report published by Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD) titled ‘Pakistan Freedom of Expression Report 2020’, threats to freedom of expression in the country have increased during the pandemic.

United States seek justice for Daniel Pearl’s murder

Date: April 4, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Secretary of State for the United States Anthony Blinken spoke to the family of the slain American journalist Daniel Pearl and assured them that their administration will continue seeking justice for his murder.

Journalist bodies, HRCP condemn unsavory content against women

Date: April 6, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

Journalist organizations and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly condemned the unethical and inappropriate content published in a local Urdu daily published from Karachi.

National Assembly panel approves bill against intentional disrespect for armed forces

Date: April 8, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior approved a bill to make amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Code of Criminal Procedures 1898 to take action against those who intentionally ridicule armed forces.

AEMEND expresses concern over new PEMRA directives

Date: April 8, 2021 – Source: The News

The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) expressed deep concern over recent advisories issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) limiting the scope of reporting and discussion on issues which are of paramount public interest.

PFUJ, PBC, HRCP concerned over proposed amendment in law

Date: April 10, 2021 – Source: The News

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pakistan Bar Council (PBA) and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (PFUJ) expressed their concern about the proposed amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to take action against those ‘intentionally’ ridiculing armed forces.

Slain journalist laid to rest in Karak

Date: April 12, 2021 – Source: The News

The slain local newsman, Waseem Alam, was laid to rest in Karak as the journalist community demanded the immediate arrest of his murderers.

PFUJ condemns murder of journalist in Karak

Date: April 12, 2021 – Source: The News

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemned the murder of journalist Wasim Alam Khattak in Karak and said that it was unfortunate that the government had been unable to ensure protection of working journalists in the country.

The perils of being a journalist

Date: April 14, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Being a journalist in Pakistan is a dangerous proposition. A noose is put around your neck when you begin and it is tightened gradually as journalists are ‘disappeared’ or harassed or murdered outright.

Supreme Court dismisses Justice Isa’s plea for live telecast of hearing

Date: April 14, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) dismissed an application of Justice Qazi Faez Isa seeking live telecast of the proceedings on his review petition against the verdict in the presidential reference case.

Opposition MNAs censure government for media blackout

Date: April 20, 2021 – Source: The News

Opposition members in the National Assembly of Pakistan censured the government for imposing a media blackout over the issue of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) protests across the country.

Media blackout in Pakistan

Date: April 20, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Governments in Pakistan somehow refuse to acknowledge the futility of imposing blanket bans on media coverage. With no filters for veracity, social media can be lethal if not countered with the process of verification through the mainstream media.

Senior journalist Absar Alam shot and wounded in Islamabad

Date: April 21, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Al Jazeera

Senior journalist and former chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Absar Alam was shot and wounded outside his residence in Islamabad.

Pakistan ranks 145th in Press Freedom Index

Date: April 21, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Arab News

The annual report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Pakistan 145 in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

FIR registered in journalist attack case

Date: April 22, 2021 – Source: Dawn

A first information report (FIR) was registered in the senior journalist Absar Alam attack case in Islamabad. The case was registered against an identified person.

PFUJ condemns murder of journalist

Date: April 26, 2021 – Source: The News

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemned the murder of journalist Abdul Wahid Raisani in Quetta and demanded an immediate inquiry into the incident.

Balochistan journalists boycott assembly proceedings

Date: April 27, 2021 – Source: The News

The Balochistan Union of Journalists boycotted the proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly session and staged a protest outside assembly premises against the murder of journalist Abdul Wahid Raisani in Quetta.

____________________________________________________________

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.
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