PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – June 2021

PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – June 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. 6 June 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

Freedom of speech for judges different from that of citizens

Date: June 3, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial opined that judges live isolated from the world and the notion of freedom of speech for them differed from that reserved for citizens.

Federal cabinet refuses to show cricket matches through Indian channels

Date: June 9, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The federal cabinet rejected the option of obtaining services of two Indian television channels to telecast the forthcoming Pakistan-England cricket series in the United Kingdom.

Foreign Ministry refuses to share information about posting of diplomats

Date: June 19, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that contents of the policy for posting of diplomats out of Pakistan cannot be made public as it may harm the interest of the country in the conduct of international relations.

PPP lawmaker submits journalist protection bill in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly

Date: June 22, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

Pakistan Peoples Party parliamentarian Nighat Yasmin Orakzai submitted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Protection of Journalists and Media Practitioners Bill 2021 to the provincial assembly’s secretariat.

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 Assembly’s human rights body to discuss press freedom in Pakistan

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source: Dawn

National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he has decided to convene a meeting of the committee to take up the issue of press freedom in the country with particular reference to the recent attacks on journalists in the federal capital.

Government assures of consultation on proposed media authority

Date: June 6, 2021 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Daily Times

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary assured a delegation of newspaper editors that an authority to regulate electronic, print and social media would be set up only after taking input from all stakeholders.

Hamid Mir offers apology, says he did not want to defame armed forces

Date: June 9, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Senior journalist Hamid Mir offered an apology over his speech at a protest rally against attacks on journalists and said he had no intention to defame the armed forces of Pakistan.

Fact-checking editorial practices and propaganda

Date: June 13, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The semantics of political discourse on social media platforms in Pakistan have taken a turn for the worse. Given that fact-checking is based on accountability at the core, the government or its sympathizers cannot be their own judge.

A film policy with holes in its plot

Date: June 20, 2021 – Source: Dawn

According to the new policy, the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) will crackdown on DVD shops across Pakistan that sell pirated music or films. However, the policy does not incorporate the fact that such shops primarily sell mobile phone accessories and not films.

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

Press Information Department to ensure fair distribution of advertisements

Date: June 5, 2021 – Source: Express Tribune

The Press Information Department (PID) announced plans to ensure transparent and fair distribution of advertisements by facilitating newspaper owners and representatives to view their newspapers’ attendance online.

Federal government allocates Rs1.9 billion for information division projects

Date: June 12, 2021 – Source: The News

The federal government allocated Rs1.9 billion for 15 ongoing and new schemes of Information and Broadcasting Division under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) of fiscal year 2020-2021.

Sindh Governor returns journalists’ protection bill over lack of financial oversight

Date: June 21, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune

Sindh Governor Imran Isamil sent back the Sindh Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Bill 2021 to the provincial cabinet without his approval citing the lack of financial oversight and audit of the commission which will spend public funds for the welfare of media workers.

APNS slams efforts to curtail media independence, non-recovery of advertising dues

Date: June 23, 2021 – Source: The News

The Executive Committee of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) expressed concern over the non-payment of dues of member publications against the advertisements released by the Punjab government despite assurances by the provincial information department.

Journalists stage walkout from National Assembly over non-payment of salaries

Date: June 23, 2021 – Source: The News

Journalists staged a walkout from the Press Gallery of the National Assembly of Pakistan (NAP) during the budget session as a protest against non-payment of salaries for the last 16 months.

PML-N spokesperson urges increase in budget allocation for Pakistan’s film industry

Date: June 26, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded of the government to increase its budget for the film and entertainment industry and introduce incentives for artists, the environment and education.

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

PFUJ condemns channel for taking Hamid Mir off air

Date: June 1, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the move to take senior journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir off air and asked the judiciary, civil society and political parties to take notice of the ban, declaring that the journalist fraternity will hold demonstrations across Pakistan against it.

Opposition parties vow to resist steps to gag media in Pakistan

Date: June 1, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Dharti News

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) expressed concern over the government’s plan to establish the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) through ordinance and vowed to resist it with full force.

AEMEND rejects Pakistan Media Development Authority ordinance

Date: June 1, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Editors (AEMEND) rejected the newly proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) ordinance.

Anti-Terrorism Court orders arrest of six journalists in Umerkot

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

An Anti-Terrorism Court in Mirpurkhas issued non-bailable arrest warrants for six journalists after they published a report on malpractices of the district health department in Umerkot.

Industry stakeholders reject new media ordinance

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Rural Media Network Pakistan

A joint meeting of representative media organizations including All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and others rejected the proposed new media ordinance and termed it ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘draconian’.

Pakistan Peoples Party to resist anti-media bills in Parliament

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source: The News

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vowed to oppose and resist the budget and legislation to crush the freedom of media in the Parliament.

Authorities close to tracing one suspect in journalist attack case

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source: Dawn

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the law enforcement authorities were close to tracing one of the suspects responsible for physically assaulting journalist Asad Ali Toor in Islamabad.

HRCP voices concern over climate of fear in media

Date: June 2, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed concerns over the growing climate of fear, violence and censorship that currently underpinned freedom of expression and opinion in Pakistan.

FIA allowed to investigate complaint against journalist

Date: June 3, 2021 – Source: Dawn

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) allowed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate a complaint against vlogger and journalist Asad Ali Toor filed by a female television anchorperson Shiffa Yousufzai.

Resolution in Punjab Assembly calls out attacks on journalists, rights activists

Date: June 5, 2021 – Source: Dawn

A resolution was submitted to the Punjab Assembly condemning attacks on journalists and rights activists in the country.

Sindh Bar Council urges Chief Justice to take notice of Hamid Mir’s removal from show

Date: June 5, 2021 – Source: Dawn

In a resolution, the Sindh Bar Council (SBC) called upon Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed to consider taking suo moto notice of a ban on journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir from hosting his talk show on Geo News.

IPI urges Prime Minister to withdraw proposed media ordinance

Date: June 6, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: International Press Institute (IPI)

In a communication addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the International Press Institute (IPI) expressed concern over the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMD) Ordinance 2021 and urged him to reconsider the government’s approach towards freedom of media and press.

Journalist escapes attack in Okara

Date: June 6, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Express Tribune

Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) and journalist Jugnu Mohsin escaped an attack on her life as she was addressing a public gathering in Okara.

Media ‘martial law’ will majorly set Pakistan back

Date: June 9, 2021 – Source: Arab News

The plan to centralize, accentuate and expand media regulations founded on a last-century censorship model is antithetical to Pakistan’s constitutional guarantees and harmful to the democratic aspirations of the people.

Sindh gets time to ague in Daniel Pearl case

Date: June 10, 2021 – Source: The News

Accepting Sindh prosecutor general’s plea, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) granted two-week time for presenting additional documents and concluding his arguments in the murder case of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

US Embassy claims diplomatic immunity in journalist visa revocation case

Date: June 12, 2021 – Source: The News

A court in Peshawar directed a local journalist to submit a reply in a case in which the United States Embassy claimed diplomatic immunity in a damages suit filed by him for revocation of his visa.

Third-degree torture used on journalist by Punjab Police

Date: June 14, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

In total disregard for rule of law, Punjab Police used third-degree torture on reporter Ahmed Nawaz in Rajabpur at the behest of local land lords.

Lawyers, media practitioners vow to resist proposed media law

Date: June 18, 2021 – Source 1: Freedom Network (FN), Source 2: The Reporters

Lawyers and media practitioners vowed to resist the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance at a convention organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Pakistan Federal union of Journalists (PFUJ).

Bilawal Bhutto to take up attacks on journalists with Inter-Services Intelligence

Date: June 18, 2021 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today

National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that he has decided to write a letter to the Director General Inter-Services Intelligence regarding journalists’ concerns and the incidents of attacks on them.

Pakistan seeks explanation for censoring Prime Minister’s interview

Date: June 23, 2021 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Pakistan Today

The government of Pakistan sought clarification from the American television channel Home Box Office (HBO) on what it called ‘the censorship’ of the interview of Prime Minister Imran Khan wherein he criticized the ideology of India’s ruling Hindutva regime.

Concern over slow progress in investigations on attacks against journalism

Date: June 29, 2021 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Human rights and journalists’ organizations expressed concern over slow progress in police investigations on attacks against journalists in the federal capital.

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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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