PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – January 2023
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. 4, No. 1 – January 2023 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
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
Pakistani film based on forced conversions bags award at international film festival
Date: January 2, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Dialogue Pakistan (DP)
Pakistani movie documentary The Losing Side, which documents the issue of forced religious conversions of women in Sindh, won an accolade at the Cannes World Film Festival in the category of Best Human Rights Film.
Civil rights activist indicted for hate speech, cyber-terrorism
Date: January 5, 2023 – Source: Dawn
A local court in Peshawar indicted civil society activist Professor Muhammad Ismail on charges of propagating hate speech, committing cyber-terrorism and spreading fake information against government institutions on social media platforms.
Fox Sports removes unsubstantiated news about Babar Azam
Date: January 19, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Fox Sports Australia removed a piece of unsubstantiated news regarding Babar Azam, captain of Pakistan’s men cricket team, from its website and social media accounts as it was sourced from a parody account operated by an Indian content creator.
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
Allotment letters for residential plots distributed among journalists
Date: January 23, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Allotment letters of residential plots were distributed among members of the Swat Press Club and Union of Journalists after the media colony in Swat were approved by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Housing Authority.
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: January 2, 2023 – Source: Dawn
A year-end report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sheds light on the dark reality of working as a journalist and media professional in countries like Pakistan where press freedom is constantly under threat. Spanning two decades, the report says 1,668 journalists have been killed across the world.
Supreme Court fixes slain journalist’s assassination case for hearing
Date: January 3, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) fixed the suo moto case of journalist Arshad Sharif’s assassination for hearing. A five-member larger bench led by Chief Justice (CJ) Umar Ata Bandial will conduct the hearing.
Sports journalist receives online abuse, threats following tense exchange with cricketer
Date: January 3, 2023 – Source 1: Freedom Network (FN), Source 2: India Today
Sports journalist Shoaib Jutt mentioned receiving online abuse and threats in a clarification message following a tense exchange with Pakistan men’s cricket team captain Babar Azam during a press conference.
Activists, media watchdog condemn Malaysia’s move to deport Pakistani journalist
Date: January 4, 2023 – Source 1: Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Source 2: Dawn
Rights activists and media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called upon Malaysian authorities to explain how a Pakistani journalist who had been living as a refugee in Malaysia – after allegedly been kidnapped and tortured by an intelligence agency – came to be deported back to Pakistan.
Ministry ‘denies’ funds to investigation team on slain journalist’s killing
Date: January 4, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The investigation into the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif hit a snag after the interior ministry and the Kenyan Embassy turned down requests for facilitation. The special joint investigation team (SJIT) requested the interior ministry to release funds for its visit to Dubai and Kenya which was turned down.
Supreme Court told probe team investigating journalist’s killing to leave for Kenya
Date: January 5, 2023 – Source: Dawn
Police furnished an interim report before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) about investigations into journalist Arshad Sharif’s killing. The report mentioned that the Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT) would leave for Kenya on January 15th for further investigation.
Date: January 5, 2023 – Source: Dawn
One hopes that powerful quarters in Pakistan and abroad will not attempt to stonewall efforts to uncover the truth behind the brutal assassination of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya. It is important the investigations are completed in a transparent manner and furnished before the court of law.
Supreme Court judge suggests seeking UN help in journalist murder probe
Date: January 6, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)
Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) suggested that the ministry of foreign affairs should consider asking the United Nations, or any other international agency, to join the murder investigation into the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
Court issues arrest warrant for journalist
Date: January 7, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today
Bailable warrants for the arrest of the news director of ARY News, Ammad Yousaf, were issued by Additional District and Sessions Judge Tahir Abbas Sipra for his repeated failure to appear before the court in an ‘incitement to mutiny’ case.
Sindh High Court tells actress to record statement at FIA investigator’s office
Date: January 10, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed television actress Kubra Khan to visit the investigation officer of the Federal investigation Agency (FIA) to record her statement with regard to defamatory online material against her and other actresses published on social media platforms.
Grenade lobbed at residence of journalist in Parachinar
Date: January 13, 2023 – Source: Dawn
Unidentified men lobbed a grenade into the house of journalist Muhammad Ali Turi, which damaged the two-story building, in Parachinar. However, no loss of life was reported in the blast.
MPA Jam Awais, four other acquitted in citizen journalist murder case
Date: January 13, 2023 – Source: The News
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Jam Awais and his four servants were acquitted in case pertaining to the murder of citizen journalist Nazim Jokhio after Malir’s District and Sessions Court accepted the out-of-court settlement between the accused and the victim’s legal heirs.
Journalist murder probe team to visit Dubai, Kenya
Date: January 14, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation
The investigation team probing the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif is scheduled to visit Dubai and Kenya to gather information from the officials in the two countries. The expenses of the investigation team will be arranged from the budget of the Islamabad Police (IP).
Pakistan’s parliament now a ‘no-go area’ for social media influencers
Date: January 14, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The National Assembly Secretariat banned the entry of social media influencers and content creators in the precinct of the Parliament House. The decision has been taken in the wake of an incident involving a content creator misbehaving with parliamentarians.
Journalist’s custody given to Federal Investigation Agency in data leak case
Date: January 15, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today, Source 3: Daily Times
A judicial magistrate handed over the custody of journalist Shahid Aslam to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for two days in a case related to leak of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data about the assets of former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family.
Journalist bodies condemn arrest of reporter
Date: January 16, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and other journalist bodies condemned the arrest of Lahore-based newsman Shahid Aslam by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for his alleged involvement in the release of tax records of former army chief and his family.
Journalist remanded to jail in data leak case
Date: January 17, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News
A civil judge rejected the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) request to extend the physical remand of journalist Shahid Aslam and sent him to Adiala Jail on judicial remand for two weeks. Aslam has been accused obtaining and sharing tax records of former army chief and his family members.
Date: January 17, 2023 – Source: Dawn
When it comes to press freedom, the arrest of journalist Shahid Aslam highlights the weaknesses in our democracy and the state’s failure to do the right thing. Successive governments have been only too happy to facilitate the persecution of journalists at the behest of a higher authority.
AEMEND slams FIA for pressing journalist to disclose source
Date: January 17, 2023 – Source: The News
The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) condemned the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) pressure of journalist Shahid Aslam for disclosing his source of news relating to disclosure of tax records of former army chief and his family members.
Date: January 18, 2023 – Source: The News
In a country that has consistently made the rankings of the most dangerous places in which to be a journalist, the messenger continues to be remain under attack. In the most recent case, the messenger has been targeted for a messages he apparently did not deliver.
42 journalists killed in last four years, Senate told
Date: January 21, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune
Responding to a question, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi informed members of the Senate that 42 journalists were murdered in the last four years across Pakistan.
PFUJ plans demonstrations against government’s ‘anti-media’ measures
Date: January 25, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) chalked out a plan to hold nationwide demonstrations, as well as a sit-in opposite the Parliament House in Islamabad, in protest against the federal government’s ‘anti-media’ measures.
Court restrains PEMRA to restrain television channels from airing video
Date: January 27, 2023 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
The Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to restrain all television channels from airing the video of physical torture on a girl at a private school in Lahore.
India bans streaming of Pakistani web series
Date: January 29, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned Pakistani web series ‘Sevak’ and the over-the-top (OTT) platform vividly.tv streaming the series that is based on a true story.
Disqualification of PPP MPA pardoned for Jokhio murder sought
Date: January 29, 2023 – Source: Dawn
The Sindh Assembly speaker was asked to send a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for disqualification of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Jam Awais who as pardoned in the murder case of citizen journalist Nazim Jokhio.
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.