PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – March 2022

PAKISTAN MEDIA MONITOR – March 2022

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. 3, No. 3 March 2022 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

Prime Minister accuses media group of ‘biased’ reporting

Date: March 1, 2022 – Source: The News

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the Jang Group published a news story saying Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital’s (SKMCH) donations were siphoned off to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-operated (PTI) accounts and the group chose to not include the hospital’s version on the matter.

Doctors, journalists confer on ways to improve health reporting in Pakistan

Date: March 1, 2022 – Source: The News

Healthcare professionals at an interactive session urged the print and electronic media journalists covering health issues to follow the ethics of journalism, publish and air verified news, and enhance their capacity and understanding of health issues to report accurately.

Islamabad High Court directs courts to decide defamation cases within nine months

Date: March 2, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notices to the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) directing the sessions court to decide defamation cases within Pakistan in no more than nine months.

President Alvi calls on clerics to discourage fake news

Date: March 8, 2022 – Source: Dawn

President Dr Arif Alvi called upon clerics to play their role to discourage the phenomenon of fake news and promote values of tolerance among people to ensure harmony and peace in society.

Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief wins defamation suit

Date: March 12, 2022 – Source: Dawn

A district court of the federal capital vindicated the position of Jang/Geo Group and its Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in their defamation case against a journalist who vilified them by publishing a series of ‘malicious’ allegations in foreign news websites.

PEMRA urged to stop television channels from airing advertisements of illegal housing societies

Date: March 13, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) requested the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to refrain television channels from airing advertisements of illegal and unapproved housing societies.

Minister urges Prime Minister to lay down guidelines for Ramazan television shows

Date: March 15, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to lay down strict guidelines for regulating television transmission for all news and entertainment channels during Ramazan.

Government announces creation of digital archive to protect old data of Radio Pakistan

Date: March 16, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting that a digital archive was being created in Radio Pakistan to protect and maintain its old data.

PTI leaders’ use of cuss words on live television triggers backlash

Date: March 18, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

In a concert profanity, two members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) termed their political opponents ‘pimps and prostitutes’. The use of cuss words triggered a scathing backlash by social media users.

Media JAC takes exception to Prime Minister’s allegations on media

Date: March 22, 2022 – Source: The News

Media Joint Action Committee (JAC) took a serious note of and condemned false allegations levelled by Prime Minister Imran Khan against media houses and journalists in his public address.

Media bodies demand Prime Minister prove ‘anti-government drive is funded’

Date: March 22, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Freedom Network (FN)

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other media rights bodies challenged Prime Minister Imran Khan to prove his ‘scandalous allegations’ that media houses have been bought by political parties and some are being funded by foreign sources to run ‘anti-government’ propaganda.

Justice Faez Isa’s plea for live broadcast of his review petition sent to CJP

Date: March 25, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Describing as ‘novel’ an application by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, seeking the public broadcast and live court coverage of his review petition, Justice Munib Akhtar referred the matter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) for deliberation and appropriate action by a full court.

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

PEMRA issues notices to television channels for collection of advertisement revenue dues

Date: March 17, 2022 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued notices for collection of billions of rupees for television channel licensees in terms of advertisement revenues. Under terms of the licenses, channels were required to pay between five and seven per cent of the advertisement revenue. 

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

Foreign Policy report accuses federal government of curbing media through new laws

Date: March 2, 2022 – Source: The News

A Foreign Policy magazine report says the federal government of Pakistan is bent upon tightening its control over media, censor and punish journalists through new laws via oversight bodies in order to enhance its power.

Punjab speaker, Jamaat-e-Islami back journalists’ struggle against PECA amendment

Date: March 2, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq assured leaders of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and other media bodies of their complete support in their struggle to repeal amendments made through a presidential ordinance to the cyber-crime law.\

Media bodies challenge PECA amendment in Islamabad High Court

Date: March 3, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: The Friday Times (TFT)

A number of bodies representing electronic and print media organizations filed petitions with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act, 2022 (PECA).

Violating the right to dissent in Pakistan

Date: March 3, 2022 – Source: Dawn

In the current status quo in Pakistan, stifling dissent seems to be a high priority for the government despite its claims of having a popular mandate. The regime and its backers have started using insidious and innovative means such as presidential ordinances to enhance control.

Electronic media body rejects PECA amendment

Date: March 5, 2022 – Source: The News

The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) rejected the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act, 2022 (PECA), declaring it to be against freedom of expression and basic human rights.

President Alvi gives up constitutional immunity in PTV attack case

Date: March 5, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The News, Source 3: Express Tribune

President Dr Arif Alvi appeared before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and submitted an application seeking withdrawal of his constitutional immunity, asking the judge to decide the case against him on merit regarding the attack on Pakistan Television (PTV) building.

Aseefa Bhutto wounded by news camera drone during political rally

Date: March 5, 2022 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari suffered minor injuries on her face after a camera drone of a private news channel hit her when she was standing on the container stage truck during a Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) rally in Khanewal.

HRCP report highlights stifling media environment in Pakistan

Date: March 8, 2022 – Source: The News

A report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) documented the stifling media environment in Pakistan following the 2018 general elections which had compelled journalists and editors to work at even greater personal risk than before.

IHC asks PEMRA about steps against self-censorship, conflict of interest

Date: March 9, 2022 – Source: Dawn

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought a report from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on steps taken to ensure free access to information while discouraging conflict of interest of the owners of media houses.

Hitman in plot to kill exiled Pakistani blogger gets life imprisonment

Date: March 12, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Mohammad Gohir Khan, a British man convicted of conspiring to murder Netherlands-based dissident Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqqas Goraya, was sentenced to life in prison at the Kingston-upon-Thames court in London.

PUJ continues protest against PECA ordinance

Date: March 14, 2022 – Source: The News

The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) continued its protest against the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act, 2022 (PECA) in front of the Lahore Press Club (LPC) premises.

PECA ordinance undermines judiciary’s independence, Islamabad High Court told

Date: March 15, 2022 – Source: Express Tribune

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) heard arguments from the counsel representing the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and other media bodies on the effect of Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act, 2022 (PECA) regarding how the ordinance ‘undermines’ judiciary’s independence.

Senate body defers consultation of PECA ordinance

Date: March 15, 2022 – Source: The News

A parliamentary body of the Upper House of parliament deferred the consultation on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act, 2022 (PECA) due to non-presence of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of media stakeholders.

IO given two days to file charge sheet before court in citizen journalist’s murder case

Date: March 15, 2022 – Source: Dawn

A judicial magistrate directed the investigation officer (IO) to file the charge sheet in citizen journalist Nazim Jhokiyo’s murder case before the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism court (ATC) ‘without fail and lame excuse within two days’.

Journalist Mohsin Baig granted post-arrest bail

Date: March 15, 2022 – Source: Dawn

Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) granted post-arrest bail to media personality Mohsin Jameel Baig and accepted the petition against surety bonds of Rs500,000 in a case where the journalist had allegedly shot and roughed up members of the Federal Investigation Agency’ (FIA) raiding team.

PBA condemns government actions to control media freedom

Date: March 16, 2022 – Source: Dawn

The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) condemned a series of actions taken by the federal government aimed at ‘controlling editorial content, freedom of speech and depriving the citizens of Pakistan of their right to know’.

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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