ISLAMABAD: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Pakistan 145 in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. The RSF had ranked Pakistan 159/180 back in 2013. It scored Pakistan at +1.34 in 2021 from 45.52 in 2020.
RSF report said 10 journalists and media assistants were killed in 2021 upto April, while it claimed that 416 journalists were imprisoned.
Cyber-harassment campaigns by trolls against journalists has emerged as new phenomenon.
The Pakistani media, which have a long tradition of being very lively, have become a priority target for the authorities report stressed.
According to report, the influence on media has increased dramatically since Imran Khan became prime minister in July 2018.
There have been cases of censorship, interruption in distribution of newspapers, threats to media outlets for withdrawal of advertising. Sometimes, the signals of TV channels that gave airtime to opposition representatives have been jammed, the report said about Pakistan.
Journalists, who dared to approach subjects deemed off limits, have been subjected to harassment campaigns. The report quoted, some were abducted in 2020 in order to be told: “Stop covering unwelcome stories or your family won’t find you alive.”
A new phenomenon– cyber-harassment campaigns by trolls against journalists, especially women journalists emerged.
World Press Freedom Index of RSF found 73 countries “totally blocked or seriously impeded” journalism, while it was “constrained” in 59 others repression.
The RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement: “Journalism is the best vaccine against disinformation.” “Unfortunately, its production and distribution are too often blocked by political, economic, technological and, sometimes, even cultural factors” he added