PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – December 2021

PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – December 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. 12 December 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

President signs journalist protection bill into act

Date: December 2, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Pakistan Today

President Dr Arif Alvi signed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill 2021 into act and termed it a historic legislation for the country.

Official fined Rs10,000 for not giving access to information

Date: December 5, 2021 – Source: The News

The XEN Public Health Engineering, Bahawalpur was fined Rs10,000 by the Punjab chief information commissioner (CIC) for not giving access to information to a citizen.

Minister defends legislation regarding journalists’ rights

Date: December 8, 2021 – Source: Daily Times

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said inputs of relevant bodies and stakeholders have been sought and added in the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 which has been passed to safeguard their rights.

PIC rules provincial cabinet meeting minutes not secret under RTI law

Date: December 11, 2021 – Source: The News

The Punjab Information Commission (PIC) told the Punjab government that it cannot keep secret the provincial cabinet meeting minutes under Article 19-A of the Constitution and Right to Information (RTI) Act 2013.

Islamabad High Court holds judges not exempt from criticism

Date: December 19, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) chief justice Athar Minallah observed that the judiciary, due to its lofty position in society, is open to criticism and a ‘judge is not immune from being criticized’.

Officer fined Rs50,000 in Punjab for violating Right to Information law

Date: December 27, 2021 – Source: The News

The Punjab Information Commission (PIC) imposed Rs50,000 on Municipal Committee Chief Officer Athar Majeed for not giving access to official information in violation of the Right to Information (RTI) law.

Islamabad High Court reserves verdict on petitions against Pakistan Information Commission’s decision

Date: December 31, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its judgement on identical petitions filed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) and the Ministry of Law and Justice against the decision of the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) for disclosure of details of the apex court’s employees.

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 call for joint movement for free press in Pakistan

Date: December 13, 2021 – Source: The News

A panel of journalists at the 14th International Urdu Conference in Karachi stressed the need for formulation of a joint movement for freedom of press in Pakistan.

US forensics firm confirms it inspected audiotape sent by Pakistani television channel

Date: December 16, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Primeau Forensics, a US-based forensic audit company, confirmed that it had inspected an audiotape forwarded by a Pakistan television channel but said that it could not share of its report with media.

Daily Mail seeks more time to serve evidence in Shehbaz Sharif defamation case

Date: December 20, 2021 – Source: The News

The Associated Newspapers limited (ANL), publishers of The Daily Mail, obtained the 5th extension to submit evidence in Shehbaz Sharif defamation case nearly a year after the London High Court ruled that an article by The Daily Mail’s contained the highest level of defamatory content.

Islamabad High Court points out misreporting of court hearing by ARY News

Date: December 21, 2021 – Source: The News

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah made it clear that ARY News misreported the court’s hearing in a case pertaining to an affidavit furnished by former Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chief judge Rana Shamim.

Government proposes higher taxes for transmission of foreign dramas

Date: December 23, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

In a bid to protect the local entertainment industry, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry proposed an increased taxation for transmission of foreign dramas in Pakistan.

Islamabad High Court sets date of ITNE head’s appointment

Date: December 23, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the federal government to appoint the chairman of the Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE) by January 20, 2022.

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

Revenue department ordered to recover Rs197 million from former PTV chairman

Date: December 25, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Pakistan Today

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the federal revenue department to recover Rs197 million from two former information ministers, a former principle secretary and former Pakistan Television (PTV) Chairman Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi, secretary in connection with the latter’s appointment as C

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

Islamabad High Court orders production of missing journalist

Date: December 5, 2021 – Source: The News

In a written order, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct all agencies working under him to produce missing journalist Mudassar Naru before the court.

Gunmen open fire at residence of journalist in Hangu

Date: December 7, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Unidentified gunmen opened fire at the residence of journalist Farooq Paracha in Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Freedom Network (FN) condemned the incident and demanded authorities to bring culprits to justice.

Rangers personnel manhandle photojournalist in Karachi

Date: December 10, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Freedom Network (FN)

A photojournalist working for daily Dawn was manhandled and beaten by personnel of Sindh Rangers while fulfilling his professional duties of covering a political gathering in Karachi.

Prime Minister seeks report on missing journalist’s whereabouts

Date: December 10, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune

Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the family of missing journalist Mudassar Naaru of a thorough investigation and directed authorities to submit a report about Naaru’s whereabouts at the earliest.

Islamabad High Court chides government in missing journalist case

Date: December 14, 2021 – Source: The News

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that it was not the court’s job to find missing people and directed government authorities to produce missing journalist Mudassar Naru before the court.

Suffocating the press in Pakistan

Date: December 18, 2021 – Source: Dawn

While the World Press Freedom Index Report 2021 compiled by Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) marks a slight improvement in Pakistan, the reality is that the environment for journalists remains toxic and concerns for press freedom are at a rise.

Political parties call for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa law on safety of journalists

Date: December 23, 2021 – Source: The News

Political parties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from both the government and opposition sides unanimously passed a resolution calling for enacting special legislation on the safety of journalists to expand the legal cover for protection of journalists working in the province.

Islamabad High Court to indict journalists in affidavit case

Date: December 29, 2021 – Source: The News

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided to indict former Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chief judge Rana Shamim, Jang-Geo group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, news editor Amir Ghauri and Editor Investigations Ansar Abbasi in a contempt of court pertaining to the publication of an affidavit.

Reporters Without Borders calls for annulment of indictment against journalists

Date: December 30, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Freedom Network (FN)

Reporters without Border (RSF) and Freedom Network (FN) called for the annulment of the decision by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to indict former Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) chief judge (CJ) and journalists in a case pertaining to the publication of an affidavit in an investigative news report.

CPJ protests indictment against journalists for reporting verified stories

Date: December 31, 2021 – Source: The News

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reacted to the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to frame charges against some journalists for their coverage of verified stories featuring former chief judge of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Rana Shamim’s affidavit.

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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