PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – February 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. 2 February 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

Minister says press freedom an over-riding priority of the government

Date: February 4, 2021 – The News

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said the over-riding priority of the current government was to ensure complete freedom of expression as provided in the 193 constitution.

Mamond Jirga bars women from call FM Radio stations

Date: February 6, 2021 – The News

Local elders of Tehsil Mamond in Bajaur tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa banned the visit of women to the Citizen Facilitation Center (CFC) as well as their phone calls to local FM Radio stations.

Sindh assembly to pass journalists’ protection bill soon

Date: February 7, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn

Speaking at a seminar on freedom of speech and rights of media workers, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the Sindh Assembly will pass the journalists’ protection bill soon.

RTI Commission directs sharing information about Prime Minister’s salary, allowances

Date: February 11, 2021 – Source: The News

Over-ruling the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Right to Information (RTI) Commission ordered the National Assembly Secretariat to disclose the attendance record, salary and allowances claimed by Prime Minister Imran Khan since 2018.

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

Impact of misinformation on public trust in media

Date: February 1, 2021 – Source: Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD)

A study conducted by Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD) titled ‘Disorder in the Newsroom’ revealed that around 90% of journalists in Pakistan believe that misinformation has had an impact on public trust in media.

Utmost care adopted for Prime Minister’s first public interaction via television

Date: February 2, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Yusuf Baig Mirza, the supervisor of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first televised public interaction, said that the utmost care was adopted for the program and questions were put up for answering after proper verification.

Newspaper lawyer defends article against Shehbaz Sharif in London court

Date: February 6, 2021 – Source: Dawn

A lawyer representing the British newspaper Daily Mail in a defamation case filed by Shehbaz Sahrif told a judge that publication’s evidence against the politician is ‘limited’, but that it stands by the claims it made in its article.

Evolution, innovation and connection: Radio remains king of the media domain

Date: February 9, 2021 – Source: The News

Despite the evolution of and innovation in the media industry, radio channels remain the most trusted companion for its listeners given its 110 year old history.

How to telecast violence and terror?

Date: February 22, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

Since the most important thing in establishing security within a region relies on developing a sense of safety among the people, therefore violence or terror should be televised in a manner that explores the positive aspect of the incident too.

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

Plan afoot to revive state-run television, Senate told

Date: February 5, 2021 – Source: The News

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz informed the Senate that the government has prepared a comprehensive plan to revive the state-run television and make it a financially viable institution.

Government urged to legislate for press freedom and ensure financial rights for media

Date: February 25, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Participants of a seminar organized by the Khyber Union of Journalists demanded of the federal government to legislate for ensuring freedom of press, protection of rights of journalists and financial support to sacked media persons.

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

Ten journalists killed in Pakistan during 2020

Date: February 1, 2021 – Source: Dawn

According to a report, ten journalists were murdered and several others threatened, kidnapped, tortured and arrested on trumped up charges while discharging their professional duties during 2020.

CPNE paints bleak picture of media freedom in Pakistan

Date: February 1, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), in its annual report on media freedom, reported that 2020 was an ‘unfavorable’ year for journalists, media workers and media houses operating in the country.

Pakistan to not hand over Daniel Pearl murder suspect to the United States

Date: February 1, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that courts in Pakistan are independent and that the government will not be handing over prime accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case to the United States.

Supreme Court maintains status quo in Daniel Pearl murder case for a day

Date: February 2, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) maintained the status quo in the decision of the Daniel Pearl murder case in response to arguments by the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) citing tremendous global implications and grave emergency of releasing the prime accused.

Woman among four social media influencers gunned down in Karachi

Date: February 3, 2021 – Source: Dawn

A gun attack left four social media influencers, including a woman, dead in Karachi while they were filming short videos for their TikTok account followers.

Supreme Court issues written order in Daniel pearl murder case

Date: February 4, 2021 – Source: The News

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) issued the written order in connection with the release of prime accused Ahmad Omar Sheikh in the Daniel Pearl murder and kidnapping case.

Media being stifled, says Supreme Court judges

Date: February 5, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa observed that the media in the country was being stifled and said that the situation concerning the media was ‘better during the last dictatorship’ in Pakistan.

Cell launched to defend journalists in courts

Date: February 9, 2021 – Source: Dawn

A cell was set up to provide free legal assistance to journalists across the country in coordination with the Journalists Defense Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBCJDC).

What went wrong in Daniel Pearl’s case?

Date: February 10, 2021 – Source: The News

The Daniel Pearl case was a saga of weak investigations and prosecution. The involvement of sensitive quarters and vested interest in the case affected the ability of law enforcement authorities and courts to provide effective prosecution and judgements.

Court defends right of journalists to perform their professional duties

Date: February 11, 2021 – Source: The News

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that journalists could not be stopped from performing their professional duties.

Jang media head office attacked by protesters

Date: February 22, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn, Source 3: Pakistan Today

Protesters vandalized the head offices of the Jang-Geo media group and assaulted their staffers. The protesters were angered by an edited video from a comedy show that had gone viral.

Suspects held for attacking Jang media offices sent to prison

Date: February 23, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Dawn

The administrative judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) remanded in judicial custody 13 suspects for their alleged involvement in an attack on the Jang-Geo media group’s head offices in Karachi.

Another attack on media

Date: February 23, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The attack on the head offices of the Jang-Geo group by charged protesters exhibits the kind of pressure that journalists in the country must work under. Such attacks expose the government’s hollow claims of a ‘free media’ in Pakistan.

Justice Isa seeks live telecast of hearings on review petitions

Date: February 26, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Justice Qazi Faez Isa filed an application in the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) seeking a directive that the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTVC) be directed to broadcast live proceedings of the hearing in his review petitions.

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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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