Pakistan’s World Press Freedom Index ranking for 2022 is 150, according to a report compiled by Reporters Sans Frontiers, released on May 3, 2023.
According to the report, Pakistan improved its World Press Freedom ranking by seven points from 2021 but it is still five points less than its ranking in 2020. Attacks against journalists and media workers are at an all-time high in Pakistan, says the report.
According to the Freedom Network Pakistan and its report published today, the annual increase in violence against journalists in 2023 was recorded at 63 percent.
At the same time, despite promises, no action has been taken to curb threats toward the media in Pakistan. reports that 96 journalists or media workers were killed in Pakistan from 2000 to 2023. These murders remain unresolved to date.
In 2022 alone, 6 journalists were killed in Pakistan while several faced various forms of violence. In 2023, 17 instances of violence against journalists were recorded, which included attempted murder and 16 cases of physical assault.
Rights Defenders in Pakistan continue to stand in support and unshakeable solidarity with members of the print and electronic media, who are bravely speaking Truth to Power, standing up to be counted, and courageously defying the odds stacked against them.
Human rights defender Tahira Abdullah spoke to Voicepk and gave a statement regarding the situation of press freedom.
She said that its ranking of Pakistan was very dismal in Freedom Network’s recently released global report.
“We note – and strongly protest – that, irrespective of which political party is in power, their proposed and enacted media legislation is anti-press freedom and anti-media persons – hence, it is unconstitutional, e.g. PECA laws and amendments; PMDA Bill; etc. – whether under overt military dictatorships or ‘civilian democracies’,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of civil society she said that the media must be governed and regulated by a Code of Ethics and Conduct that is framed by the media persons themselves – to be owned, accepted, implemented and monitored voluntarily by all media houses, working journos, and professional associations, e.g. PFUJ and its member Unions, Press Clubs, CPNE, APNS, PBA, etc. (not imposed by the state via PTA or PEMRA laws, policies, regulations).
“Along with this Article 19 of the Constitution needs to be reviewed and revised in light of current global standards of human rights and press freedoms; and Pakistan’s binding obligations under ratified UN Conventions,” she added. “Lastly, the process of negotiating Media Wage Board awards needs to be brought in harmony with the current ground realities and must follow the ILO’s Tripartite Principles as per the MNE Declaration.”