Pakistan Media Monitor – April 2024


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. 5, No. 4 April 2024 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network –

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

Punjab Information Commission orders 41 DCs to disclose income details of district officers’ clubs

Date: April 5, 2024 – Source: The News

The Punjab Information Commission (PIC) asked 41 deputy commissioners (DCs) to make public the income from the civil officers’ clubs in their districts and provide requested information to the petitioner.

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

Once-popular Urdu magazines for kids in a downward spiral

Date: April 1, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Most of children’s Urdu periodicals published in Pakistan are in a downward spiral with some barely afloat and fighting for their survival. One of the reasons ascribed to the situation is the decline in the reading habits in general, particularly in children.

An intelligent future

Date: April 13, 2024 – Source: The News

Everyone around the world is a potential victim of social media publications and untruthful stories or posts placed on them. Developing artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms capable of detecting and flagging fake content could serve as a valuable tool in the fight against misinformation.

UK court denies Pakistani YouTuber’s request to stay defamation proceedings

Date: April 15, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)

Pakistani YouTuber Adil Farooq Raja was denied by the United Kingdom High Court to stay proceedings in a defamation case brought against him by a former military official, with the court setting a trial date for April 2025.

Pakistan writes to the United States over Shahbaz Gill’s ‘hateful’ posts against police officer

Date: April 18, 2024 – Source: Dawn

The federal government, on the request of Punjab, approached the United States (US) to initiate legal action against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill for inciting gender-based violence (GBV) through unwarranted and ‘hateful’ posts on social media against a female police officer.

Baseless allegations: Journalists demand apology from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa adviser

Date: April 19, 2024 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Pakistan Media Monitor (PMM)

The Khyber Union of Journalists (KUJ) and Peshawar Press Club (PPC) demanded an apology from Advisor to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mashaal Yousafzai for levelling unwarranted allegations against Geo News reporter Nadia Saboohi.

Nasir Zaidi gets Ahfaz-ur-Rehman Award for media freedom

Date: April 21, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Veteran journalist Nasir Zaidi was given the Ahfaz-ur-Rehman Award for courage and freedom of expression for 2024 at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi.

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 promises practical steps for media workers’ welfare

Date: April 6, 2024 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar expressed the resolve of the federal government to preferentially solve all issues of the media fraternity, including media houses, in Pakistan.

PBA thanks government for clearing two-year advertisement dues  

Date: April 16, 2024 – Source: The News

Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) thanked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for clearing the outstanding advertisement dues of electronic media pertaining to the last two years.

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

CJP stops ‘absentee petitioners’ from withdrawing media regulation plea

Date: April 3, 2024 – Source: Dawn

The Supreme Court (SC) summoned six petitioners, including a former joint secretary and a former railways police chief, who had filed a joint petition seeking regulation of media freedom, but are now trying to withdraw it after a gap of two years.

Exiled Afghan journalist shot, injured in Islamabad

Date: April 5, 2024 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Exiled Afghan journalist Ahmed Hanayesh sustained serious injuries after he was shot by a group of unidentified armed men as he was walking back to his residence after work in Islamabad. Police authorities could not confirm whether this was a case of an armed robbery or a targeted attack.

CPNE calls for lifting curbs on media

Date: April 6, 2024 – Source: Express Tribune

In a meeting with Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar, a delegation of the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) expressed concern over the curbs on the freedom of press and expression particularly in the Balochistan province.

Second FIR sought in journalist’s murder case

Date: April 9, 2024 – Source: Dawn

A local court in Islamabad sought reports from the inspector general (IG) and the station house officer (SHO) Karachi Company on a petition seeking registration of a second first information report (FIR) against PML-N leadership in connection with the murder case of journalist Arshad Sharif.

Islamabad High Court tells FIA to decide plea against two journalists

Date: April 9, 2024 – Source: The News

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to decide a plea seeking the registration of a case against two journalists and two retired army generals for allegedly distorting facts about various events, showing negligence and breaking legal barriers after retirement.

Social media helps woman win freedom 16 years after kidnap

Date: April 15, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Social media made it possible for a woman from Kashmir to get freedom 16 years after her kidnapping. Aasia Bibi used a smartphone to record a video about her whereabouts before she was recovered by police authorities from Chakothi area of Toba Tek Singh.

‘Misuse’ prompted ban on X, government tells Islamabad High Court

Date: April 18, 2024 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Pakistan Today

The federal interior ministry informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the ban on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, was necessary following its failure to address concerns regarding ‘misuse’.

Over 17 political trends on X flagged ‘sensitive’ by anti-terrorism department

Date: April 18, 2024 – Source: Express Tribune

Following monitoring of social media activities, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) flagged more than 17 trends on online microblogging platform X, formerly Twitter, as ‘sensitive’.

X post facto

Date: April 19, 2024 – Source: Dawn

As has become its modus operandi, the state is using smoke and mirrors to try to justify its decision to ban X, formerly Twitter. After weeks of denial and misrepresentation, the government recently owned up to blocking the social media platforms ‘in the interest of upholding national security’.

X working with Pakistan’s government to ‘understand concerns’

Date: April 19, 2024 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: France 24, Source 3: Arab News

Social media platform X, formerly Twitter, said it would work with Pakistan’s government ‘to understand its concerns’ after authorities insisted an ongoing two-month ban was based on security grounds.

X marks the ban

Date: April 19, 2024 – Source: The News

Social media is indispensable to people’s power in the 21st century. It is not just where people get the news, but where they can become part of it and influence the narrative. The again, maybe that is the problem.

PML-N leader calls for restoring access to X

Date: April 19, 2024 – Source: The News

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Saad Rafique called for restoring access to microblogging platform X, formerly Twitter. He was of the view that the battle of politics should be fought solely through political means.

By-elections: Cellular internet services to go out in Punjab for ‘law and order’ reasons

Date: April 21, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Arab News

As 21 national and provincial seats go to by-polls, the federal government allowed the suspension of mobile internet services to ‘maintain law and order’ in 13 districts and tehsils in Punjab – on the recommendation of the Punjab government – as well as approved the deployment of armed forces.

Foreign minister compares X curbs with US stance on TikTok

Date: April 22, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar justified the federal government’s move to block access to social media platform X, formerly Twitter, saying that it was the government’s prerogative to take actions that are ‘in the best interests of Pakistan’. He compared this stance with that of the United States towards TikTok.

Court bars former prime minister’s ‘outbursts against institutions’

Date: April 26, 2024 – Source: Dawn

An accountability court in Islamabad ordered former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi to refrain from speaking against state institutions, and also asked the media not to highlight ‘political or inflammatory’ statements made by the accused.

PTI leader granted bail in cybercrime case

Date: April 27, 2024 – Source: Dawn

A sessions court in Lahore granted interim pre-arrest bail to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Azam Khan Swati in a case of uploading hate material against state institutions on the internet.

Censorship and disinformation

Date: April 27, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Digital disinformation has emerged as a formidable threat in the digital era, warping public perceptions and jeopardizing fundamental democratic structures. The handling of the X blockage by regulatory bodies and the government is a reminder of how misinformation is manipulated for political ends.

Army chief warns online trolls against ‘derailing progress’

Date: April 27, 2024 – Source: Express Tribune

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir said that negative propaganda and social media trolls could not distract the nation from advancing towards the development and prosperity of Pakistan and its people.

Audio leaks case: IHC’s Justice Babar Sattar dismisses pleas seeking his recusal

Date: April 28, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation, Source 3: Pakistan Today

Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Babar Sattar dismissed pleas filed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) seeking his recusal in case pertaining to audio leaks.

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.  

Leave a comment

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

Please subscribe to get the latest news and articles!