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. 1 January 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

Public bodies bound to provide information to citizens

Date: January 21, 2024 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune

Addressing a workshop in Islamabad, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) said it was the right of every citizen to have access to information, with public bodies bound to reply to such requests to ensure accountability.

Three top officials of Punjab Information Commission sacked

Date: January 23, 2024 – Source: The News

The Punjab government removed the chief information officer and two commissioners of the Punjab Information Commission (PIC), which was created for access to information.

Lahore High Court stays removal of Punjab CIC

Date: January 25, 2024 – Source: The News

The Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended the decision of the Punjab government on a petition against the removal of head of Punjab Information Commission (PIC) from the post, with the court seeking a reply from the government explaining their decision.

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

National Press Club – a safe haven for activists

Date: January 1, 2024 – Source: Dawn

There are a number of reasons for the selection of the National Press Club (NPC) by activists and political parties. The NPC charges a meagre amount for staging protests and press conferences, with security personnel traditionally abstaining from entering its premises for any action.

Fact-checking mechanism for journalists launched

Date: January 11, 2024 – Source: Dawn

The Center of Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA) launched a non-partisan fact-checking initiative, iVerify, to advance the scope of independent and unbiased reporting in Pakistan’s journalistic landscape.

PTI banks on social media to make up for ‘bat’ loss

Date: January 15, 2024 – Source: Dawn

After it was deprived of its electoral symbol by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) decided to capitalize on its strong social media network to remain in touch with its supporters, in addition to setting up a portal featuring the party’s candidates and their symbols.

Real news, real people

Date: January 18, 2024 – Source: The News

Mainstream channels still have filters and checks in place to ensure that the news is factually incorrect. Media houses that put out such news bear the risk of action against them from various quarters. This does not happen on social media, which is why fake news has become the norm on such platforms.

Government issues visas to 49 journalists for coverage of general elections

Date: January 24, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said that 49 visas had been issued to foreign journalists while requests of a further 32 journalists wanting to cover parliamentary elections in Pakistan were under-consideration.

Urdu journalism in Pakistan: A journey through time

Date: January 25, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The history of Urdu journalism in Pakistan can be traced to the pre-colonial times in India. Interestingly, it started not in Uttar Pradesh (UP) or the Urdu-speaking part of India, but Bengal, where Harihar Dutta, started an Urdu newspaper in 1822.

Print media in Pakistan: Navigating the digital storm

Date: January 25, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

In an era dominated by digital technology, the decline of print media has become a global phenomenon, with Pakistan experiencing its own share of challenges. Newspapers and magazines, once primary sources of information, are struggling to maintain their relevance.

Changing times

Date: January 27, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Pakistani politics has undergone a paradigm shift, with proliferation of new virtual mediums through which highly potent political narratives can be disseminated, shared, commented upon and augmented bringing about a sea change in how narrative battles are being and will be fought.

Balancing journalism and media

Date: January 27, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

In Pakistan’s evolving media landscape, the surge in journalists with diverse affiliations has blurred the lines between authentic reporting and agenda-driven narratives. This exploration delves into the complex motivations driving journalists to align with political factions, chase ratings, or seek publicity.

Lesson plan

Date: January 28, 2024 – Source: Dawn

News organizations should connect with younger audiences. Media owners should take a hard look at ground realities and vow to invest in the principles of journalism. Technological advancements may change the medium but the message of impartiality will remain the same.

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 

Journalists to get 100pc discount on medical treatment at Rawalpindi hospital

Date: January 4, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Punjab caretaker Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare and Population Welfare Dr Jamal Nasir said that journalists would get 100 percent discount on medical treatment at the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC).

Survey: Sindh journalists troubled by poor working conditions, insufficient wages

Date: January 7, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Poor working conditions, delayed and insufficient wages, lack of access to affordable medical and transport facilities and the absence of a structured wage system were among issues underscored in a survey conducted among journalists working in Sindh.

PSL broadcasting rights sold for Rs6.3 billion

Date: January 11, 2024 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Cricket Pakistan (CP), Source 3: Startup Pakistan

The broadcasting rights for two seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) were auctioned for Rs6.3 billion, marking an increase of Rs2 billion from the previous deal.

PEMRA to hold bidding process for FM radio licenses for KP’s merged distritcs

Date: January 25, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) decided to hold bidding to issue licenses for FM radio frequencies for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) merged districts.

Minister assures APNS of clearing print media dues

Date: January 29, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Caretaker Sindh Minister for Information Mohammad Ahmed Shah gave assurances to a delegation of the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) of clearing outstanding dues of the print media industry.

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

ECP urges PEMRA to take action against media channels violating election code of conduct

Date: January 2, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wrote a letter to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) seeking action against television channels violating the election code of conduct.

PFUJ decries PEMRA for banning election surveys

Date: January 3, 2024 – Source: The News

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for stopping television channels from airing surveys regarding general elections on the pretext that these will ‘influence the free choice of voters’.

Death threats to sports journalist condemned

Date: January 3, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned death threats made to sports journalist Shoaib Jutt following an incident of mobile snatching from outside his residence in Karachi.

2023 marks another tough year for Pakistani journalists

Date: January 4, 2024 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

With Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranking Pakistan among the world’s most dangerous places for journalists and an increase recorded in the number of attacks against media practioners, 2023 proved to be another tough years for Pakistani journalists and free speech activists.

No ban on media coverage of former PTI chairman, PEMRA clarifies in court

Date: January 5, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that there was no ban on media coverage of former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.

ECP’s media code sparks debate on election surveys

Date: January 5, 2024 – Source: The News

Exit polls are a no-no but opinion polls and surveys can be allowed if transparent and scientific, say electoral experts and journalists when asked for input regarding the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Code of Conduct for National Media.

Banning electoral surveys

Date: January 6, 2024 – Source: Dawn

PEMRA’s decision to prohibit television channels from airing opinion surveys appears to be an overly conservative view of what is otherwise a harmless enumeration exercise that is conducted widely around the world in the run-up to elections.

Do prison rules allow Imran to write article in foreign publication?

Date: January 7, 2024 – Source: The News

With confusion persisting over who wrote an article published in a foreign publication, the federal government claims that it was a ‘ghost article’ while Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) views former chairman Imran Khan as the author.

Artificial intelligence to write Economist piece, claims Imran Khan

Date: January 9, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Former prime minister Imran Khan claimed while talking to journalists inside prison premises that an essay published in The Economist under his name was ‘generated through artificial intelligence’.

Islamabad High Court seeks report on FIRs against journalists

Date: January 12, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Asian News International (ANI)

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought a report from the federal government regarding cases registered against journalists Sami Abrahim, Moeed Pirzada, and late Arshad Sharif.

Television channels advised to broadcast with caution content on Pakistan-Iran issues

Date: January 19, 2024 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) instructed all satellite television channel licensees to exercise ‘utmost care’ while reporting on tensions Between Pakistan and Iran.

Coalition formed to ensure free media

Date: January 21, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: The Nation

Representatives from various press clubs, unions and media associations in Pakistan established an alliance – Coalition for Free Media – to jointly resist media curbs through pressure tactics and trolling on social media and to ensure freedom of expression.

No country gives media access to those involved in serious crimes: Information Minister

Date: January 22, 2024 – Source 1: Pakistan Today, Source 2: The Nation

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said no country would agree to give media access to convicts of ‘serious crimes’, with the same principle to be followed for former prime minister Imran Khan who remains convicted and in jail.

Media freedom in Pakistan declines due to censorship, threats

Date: January 23, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

The relationship the state and media deteriorated during the past two years due to growing instances of censorship, violence against journalists and government disdain for criticism, according to a report published by the Institute of Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA).

Our ‘free’ media

Date: January 23, 2024 – Source: Dawn

From high-profile abductions that have gone unquestioned to unresolved murders of journalists, Pakistan’s media fraternity has suffered much in silence, while being forced to cede more and more control over editorial decision-making to unaccountable individuals.

CJP takes notice of journalists’ harassment by FIA

Date: January 28, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa took suo moto notice of the alleged harassment of journalists by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), constituting a three-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench that will take up the matter.

Government claims ‘no witch-hunt’ in probe into online trolling of SC judges

Date: January 29, 2024 – Source: Dawn

Brushing aside reports about harassment of journalists in the matter related to a ‘malicious’ social media campaign against Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) judges, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said a joint investigation agency (JIT) is probing the matter in accordance with law.

CJP directs government to stop action against journalists criticizing verdicts

Date: January 30, 2024 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Business Recorder (BR)

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) assured the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) no action will be taken against the journalists, whom the notices have been issued by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for criticizing the judiciary on social media.

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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