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Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has investigated over 200 cases of murdered media workers and determined that 48 were deliberately targeted and murdered for their work from 2002 to present. Another 24 were killed while on assignments but not targeted during the same period. In 2018 and 2019, PPF investigated six cases of murder of journalists. However, PPF determined that the prime causes of murders were personal or business animosities and rivalries rather than their work as journalists.

Journalists murdered during 2018 for personal reasons, included Ehsan Sherpao, Secretary General of Charsadda Press Club; Anjum Muneer Raja, sub-editor, daily Pukaar; Zeeshan Ashraf Butt, reporter, daily Nawa-i-Waqt; Abid Hussain, correspondent of daily Naya Daur, Multan; Saeed Butt, reporter, daily Khabrain; and Muhammad Sohail Khan, reporter, daily K2 Times and AVT Khyber television channel.

The media industry in Pakistan also witnessed serious economic pressures which resulted in the closure of a television channel and several newspapers, which in turn led to the loss of employment for hundreds of journalists and other media professionals. The economic pressures include average per minute reduction in rates for government advertisements for television channels. The ministry has cut the rates up to 1000 percent and new rates will be valid for federal and provincial governments, autonomous bodies and public sector organizations.

The circulation of some newspapers including Dawn remained blocked in cantonments and parts of Balochistan, and transmission of Geo television channel was blocked in many parts of the country.

On the policy front, the newly elected government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced plans to merge the existing separate regulations for print, electronic and online media into a single powerful regulation body. Under the proposed regulation one mega regulatory body to be called Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) would be created with the merger of existing regulatory authorities including Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) which regulates the electronic media and Press Council of Pakistan (PCP), the quasi self-regulatory mechanism for the print media. Most media bodies including The All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and PCP have strongly opposed the proposed law.

In September 2018, government also constituted a Content Committee that would approve advertisements for the print and electronic media. The newly-formed body, headed by the Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, will work to see that no advertisement should be released to the print or electronic media by the provincial or federal government without prior approval of this committee.

Media outlets remain under pressure from the authorities to avoid reporting on several issues including criticism of law enforcement agencies. There were at least 31 instances of journalists, anchorpersons, and television channels being issued show-cause notices, suspensions of anchor persons, blocking of websites, and disruptions of distribution of newspapers.

Pakistan was among the countries that had made the largest number of requests for content restrictions in the first half on the year 2018 from January-June on leading social media platforms. According to 'Facebook Transparency Report' released on November 16, 2018 Pakistan emerged as the number one country in the world with 2,203 requests to Facebook for content restriction.

The 'Twitter Transparency Report' ranked Pakistan on third highest with 3,004 profiles to the social networking site for inciting violence and spreading hate material.





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PPF Media Violence Records

Copyright by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Category of Incident Total cases 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

from 2002 to

2019 per

category

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Targetted Murders 48 0 0 1 0 2 7 4 6 4 6 3 4 3 1 2 1 2 2

Killed in line of work 24 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 1 2 7 2 1 3 1 1 0 0 0

Serious Assault 171 1 9 2 16 7 17 10 20 10 17 16 14 6 14 5 5 1 1

Minor Assault 77 0 13 32 2 12 4 0 3 0 3 3 1 3 1 0 0 0 0

Arrest 18 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 2 3 0

Detained 26 1 0 2 0 6 0 0 0 0 5 5 2 0 1 0 2 1 1

Case Registered/ Raid/ Sentenced 37 2 6 3 2 10 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0

Serious Threat 30 0 2 9 1 0 2 1 2 6 0 2 1 2 2 0 0 0 0

Minor Threat 37 0 3 6 0 1 1 4 4 4 0 3 6 1 2 0 1 0 1

Kidnapping 26 0 4 10 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 2 0 1 0 1 1 0

Harassment 5 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Defamation case 6 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Attack on Media Houses 32 0 1 3 0 0 4 1 2 1 4 3 0 1 1 3 3 5 0

Attack on Journalist's Residence 11 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 0 1 0

Censorship 130 5 32 12 8 0 8 9 4 3 4 7 9 15 3 0 3 4 4

Attacks on Music Shops and Cinemas 21 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1 2 3 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0

Total Cases 699

Monitored by PPF from 2002 to 2019

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Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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