Under the military establishment’s thumb
The Pakistani media, which have a long tradition of being very lively, have become a priority target for the country’s “deep state,” a euphemism for the constant maneuvering by the military and military intelligence to subjugate civilians. This military “establishment,” which opposes independent journalism, stepped up its harassment of the media significantly in the run-up to the July 2018 general elections. There were many cases of brazen censorship in which the military exercised pressure on the media. Distribution of newspapers, especially the leading daily Dawn, was interrupted. Media outlets were threatened with the withdrawal of advertising. The Geo TV network’s broadcast signals were jammed. Even cruder methods were deployed as the election drew closer. Intimidation, physical violence and arrests were used against journalists who crossed the red line by trying to cover stories deemed off limits by the military. After reining in the traditional media, the establishment has set about purging the Internet and social networks of content not to its liking. To that end, the new government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the creation of a Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) – in which “regulation” is clearly intended to mean “censorship.” Journalists meanwhile continue to be at risk in the field, especially in the western provinces of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where reporters are caught in the crossfire between the security forces and armed rebels. At least three journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. Two of them had been covering drug trafficking.
139 in 2018
43.24 in 2018