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. 3, No. 6 June 2023 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

Gender disparity: Women file only 6pc of RTI complaints in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Date: June 4, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Out of 2,256 complaints received by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission (KPIC) between 2020 and 2022, only 127 were filed by women. The disparity between male and female complainants raised concern about the awareness and utilization of the RTI Act among women in the province.

Why is access to information difficult in Balochistan?

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

A delay in the establishment of the provincial information commission and appointment of information commissioners in Balochistan has led to journalists facing difficulties in accessing government records. The provincial bureaucratic setup continues to resist handing over requested information.

Right to Information: Citizen trying to obtain information from Supreme Court without success

Date: June 22, 2023 – Source: The News

In April 2019, a citizen filed a request to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) under the Right to Information Act, demanding information about the staff of the apex court and recruitments made to fill the vacant positions. Four years on, the citizen has been unable to receive the requested information.

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

Unravelling the effects of digital media on mental health

Date: June 4, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

To mitigate the potential negative effects of short-form content on mental health, it is crucial to establish a healthy digital consumption balance. This involves setting screen time limits, curating social media feeds, and practicing mindful digital habits.

CPNE forms two committees for 2023-2024

Date: June 5, 2023 – Source: Express Tribune

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) formed two new committees – the Committee for Free Media and the Editors-Government Liaison Committee – for the year 2023-2024.

Crisis of mainstream media

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source: Dawn

If there has to be ‘fact-checking’, it will have to be carried out by those who enjoy far more credibility than Pakistan´s mainstream media does at the moment; and this credibility will not simply help media houses themselves but the entire polity.

Information minister foresees film industry´s revival over next decade

Date: June 19, 2023 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Pakistan Today

Foreseeing film industry’s revival over the next decade, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murriyum Aurungzeb said the expansion of the industry was vital to project the ‘national narrative through screen tourism’.

A pressing need

Date: June 25, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The besieged state of Pakistan’s press requires interventions from all stakeholders, and while a press museum won’t solve the crisis, its creation will serve as a reminder of the battles fought by advocates to preserve press freedom. It may also reinvigorate a commitment from media owners to do 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

Why do journalism organizations in Gilgit-Baltistan need government advertisements?

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Khurshid Ahmed, the President of Gilgit Press Club (GPC), said media organizations based in Gilgit-Baltistan were finding it difficult to pursue independent journalism as the government refuses to issue advertisements to critical outlets.

Rs1 billion allocated in federal budget for journalists’ health insurance

Date: June 10, 2023 – Source 1: Express Tribune, Source 2: Pakistan Today, Source 3: Daily Times

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murriyum Aurungzeb said the federal government had allocated an amount of Rs1 billion in the budget for fiscal year 2023-2024 for health insurance of working journalists and media workers.

CPNE thanks government for announcing health insurance for journalists

Date: June 13, 2023 – Source: Express Tribune

The Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE) thanked the federal government for allocating funds for the health insurance scheme for journalists in the federal budget for fiscal year 2023-2024.

Senate body proposes Rs50 radio tax on vehicles in Islamabad

Date: June 15, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Chairman Irfan Siddiqui proposed imposing Rs50 as radio tax on all vehicles registered in Islamabad to steer the state broadcaster out of financial crunch.

CPNE seeks payment for advertisement arrears

Date: June 24, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

In a meeting with government officials, the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker to pay outstanding arrears to newspapers.

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

Missing anchorperson

Date: June 1, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The whereabouts of anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan continued to remain unknown after being picked up by unknown persons despite production orders by the court, condemnation by rights groups and journalists’ organizations, and his father’s emotional appeal before the Lahore High Court (LHC).

PEMRA warns TV channels against promoting ‘zealots and hate mongers’

Date: June 2, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Terming the perpetrators of My 9 violence against state and public properties ‘zealots’ and ‘hate mongers’, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered all satellite television channel licensees not to provide air time to them or their facilitators.

Suspect arrested for vandalism and theft at Radio Pakistan premises

Date: June 3, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police arrested the suspect responsible for vandalism and theft at the Radio Pakistan (RP) building in Peshawar. The arrest took place in Charsadda, and a significant amount of stolen equipment, including a tape recorder, microphone, and cables, was also recovered.

IHC judge warns media against airing tickers of ongoing cases

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani stopped television channels from quoting his remarks during the hearing of an ongoing case, warning that the license of the channel – issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) – will be revoked over non-compliance.

Television producer ‘picked up’ from his residence in Karachi

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: The Pakistan Daily

Geo News executive producer Zubair Anjum was picked up by police personnel from his house in Karachi. According to Anjum’s brother, people arrived in two police vans and stormed their house brandishing weapons.

Punjab police remain clueless regarding anchorperson’s whereabouts

Date: June 6, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Inspector-General of Punjab Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar failed to produce missing anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan before the Lahore High Court (LHC) despite repeated directions to do so and remained clueless regarding a breakthrough in the investigation into Khan’s current location.

Television producer returns home 24 hours after being ‘picked up’

Date: June 7, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Zubair Anjum, an executive producer at Geo News, who was allegedly picked up by plainclothes men accompanied by police personnel, returned home. According to family sources, Anjum was ‘in good health’.

Why Imran Khan has disappeared from Pakistan’s media

Date: June 8, 2023 – Source: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

While there was no mention of Imran Khan in PEMRA’s directive to television channels restricting airtime to individuals propagating hate speech, journalists and anchorpersons confirmed that they have been told to neither mention his name nor provide airtime to any of his remarks or speeches.

Journalist’s mother seeks inclusion of Imran Khan, four others in murder probe

Date: June 9, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Pakistan Observer (PO)

The mother of slain journalist Arshad Sharif sought a directive from the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) to the Special Joint Investigation Team (SJIT), constituted to probe the journalist’s murder, requiring it to investigate five individuals, including former prime minister Imran Khan.

Masked men break into journalist’s house in Islamabad

Date: June 9, 2023 – Source: Dawn

A group of masked gunmen raided the house of journalist Baqir Sajjad Syed, frightened his family and snatched cash and ornaments. Information Minister Murriyum Aurungzeb said she had spoken to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Islamabad regarding prompt investigation into the matter.

Journalist declared proclaimed offender for reporting assets of former army chief

Date: June 9, 2023 – Source 1: Journalism Pakistan (JP), Source 2: Aaj TV

Journalist Ahmed Noorani, living in exile in the United States, said that he had been declared as a proclaimed offender after investigation into a story he published regarding the assets owned by former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and his family.

Slain journalist’s wife alleges government ‘not pressing Kenyan authorities’ for investigation

Date: June 11, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The wife of slain journalist Arshad Sharif told the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) that the federal government had allegedly not been exerting pressure on Kenyan officials and was slow and ineffective in coordination to ensure a transparent investigation into the journalist’s killing.

Journalists among four booked for ‘incitement to violence’

Date: June 13, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Islamabad Post, Source 3: Pakistan Observer (PO)

A police case was registered against four people, including journalists Shaheen Sehbai and Wajahat Saeed Khan, over charges of inciting violent protesters, mutiny, waging a war against the state and terrorism.

Lahore High Court to hear case against ban on broadcasting PTI chairman’s speeches

Date: June 14, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Lahore High Court (LHC) admitted a petition and is set to hear a petition against a ban on telecasting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s speeches on media despite court orders.

PJSC demands immediate operationalization of federal law on protection of journalists

Date: June 15, 2023 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Pakistan Journalists Safety Coalition (PJSC) demanded the immediate operationalization of the federal law on protection of journalists and media workers and called on the government to stop branding journalists as ‘traitors’ and ‘enemies’ of the state.

Police get more time to recover missing anchorperson

Date: June 15, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Business Recorder (BR)

Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti gave another two weeks to the Punjab police for the recovery of alleged missing anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan as the counsel of his family expressed satisfaction on the efforts.

Police charges two journalists with sedition

Date: June 15, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Asian News International (ANI)

Islamabad police booked two anchorpersons – Sabir Shakir and Moeed Pirzada – alongside another individual on charges of sedition and terrorism for their alleged involvement in the violence that engulfed the country on May 9.

Media house owner, anchorperson booked under sedition charges

Date: June 16, 2023 – Source: The News

The federal capital police registered a first information report (FIR) against television channel chairman Shoaib Sheikh and program anchor Sami Abraham on sedition charges on a complaint made by an Islamabad-based citizen.

Amnesty International, RSF resent sedition cases against Pakistani journalists

Date: June 16, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Pakistan Today

The Amnesty International (AI) and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) raised concerns over the filing of sedition cases against critical journalists in Pakistan in connection with the violent events of May 9.

World Refugee Day: Call for humanitarian assistance for exiled Afghan journalists in Pakistan

Date: June 20, 2023 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Freedom Network (FN), Source 3: Business Recorder

Media watchdog Freedom Network (FN) called on the federal government and the international community to extend exiled Afghan journalists suspended in limbo in Pakistan maximum support in helping them cope with rising living costs and opportunities to continue working as journalists.

Majority of female journalism graduates abandon careers due to societal challenges in KP

Date: June 20, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

In a striking trend, despite a growing number of female graduates in journalism and mass communication departments across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa universities, 90 per cent of such students are abandoning their careers upon completion of degrees due to societal challenges.

Lack of internet services in South Waziristan stifling journalistic efforts, region’s development

Date: June 21, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

South Waziristan – a region affected by terrorism and security issues is now facing a new set of obstacles in its path to progress. The absence of internet and cellular services has not only impeded development in the region but hindered the work of journalists.

PEMRA forms bodies for inclusion of web TVs and OTTs content services in broadcast media

Date: June 21, 2023 – Source: Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) formed committees to ensure the inclusion of website television (web TVs) and over-the-top (OTT) content services under the ambit of broadcast media services.

Freedom Network urges SCPJ to take note of police torture on journalist

Date: June 22, 2023 – Source: Freedom Network (FN)

Media watchdog Freedom Network (FN) urged the Sindh Commission on Protection of Journalists (SCPJ) to take note of alleged police torture on reporter Abdur Rahim after he published information on social media regarding corruption in Sindh’s police force.

PEMRA to launch crackdown on OTT platforms

Date: June 22, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Cable Operators Association of Pakistan Chairman Khalid Arain claimed that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) plans to crackdown on over-the-top (OTT) platforms to ensure their inclusion under the ambit of regularized broadband media services.

Finance minister loses cool with reporter over questions on IMF program

Date: June 22, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar lost his cool with a reporter Shahid Qureshi at the Parliament House after being questioned about the completion of the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.

Media watchdog demands investigation into police involvement in picking up Afghan journalists

Date: June 24, 2023 – Source 1: Freedom Network (FN), Source 2: Kabul Now (KN)

Media watchdog Freedom Network (FN) demanded an investigation into the alleged detention and extortion of Afghan journalists exiled in Pakistan by the Islamabad Police (IP).

Altaf Hussain’s website unblocked in Pakistan after seven years

Date: June 25, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News

Pakistan authorities unblocked the website of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain – after a ban of seven years. The official website – – is now accessible across the country and has generated considerable traffic.

Afghan journalist exiled in Pakistan commits suicide after being denied asylum in the United States

Date: June 25, 2023 – Source 1: The News, Source 2: Asian News International (ANI)

An Islamabad-based Afghan journalist died by suicide after the United States (US) government turned down his request for asylum on the basis of his refugee status.

Petition for missing anchorperson´s recovery adjourned

Date: June 27, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Lahore High Court (LHC) adjourned a petition for the recovery of missing anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan as a counsel of his father expressed hope for a ´positive development within days´.

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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