ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is the riskiest place to practise journalism in Pakistan as 56 or 40 per cent violations took place in the city over the past year, showed the annual Pakistan Press Freedom Report prepared by the media rights watchdog Freedom Network, Dawn reported.
As per the report, at least 140 cases of threats and attacks against journalists, media professionals and media organisations were reported in Pakistan over the past year, indicating an annual increase of over 60 percent.
Punjab was the second worst, with 35 (25 percent) cases of violations, followed by 32 (23 percent) cases in Sindh.
The report, released ahead of the World Press Freedom Day celebrated on May 3, noted that the country’s media environment became riskier and more violent in recent months, as the number of attacks surged 63 percent to 140 between May 2022 and March 2023 from 86 in 2021-22, according to Dawn.
The report also documented the killings of at least five journalists in Pakistan in the period under review.
Executive director of Freedom Network, Iqbal Khattak, said: “The escalation in violence against journalists is disturbing and demands urgent attention.” Khattak tracks press freedom violations around the year and publishes the annual report.
“Attacks on independent journalism block access to essential information, which is especially damaging during the ongoing political and economic crises when the public needs reliable news to understand the issues and respond to them,” he said, as quoted by Dawn.
“It is ironic that Pakistan in 2021 became the first country in Asia to legislate on the safety of journalists, but one and a half years later, the federal and Sindh journalists’ safety laws have not helped a single journalist resulting in increasing violence against them,” Khattak said.
The Friday Times recently reported that journalists in Pakistan continue to live a tough life as several Independent journalists in the country have raised concerns related to digital security.
Several journalists have been asked to provide their laptop and mobile phone passwords during investigations, violating their right to privacy and source protections, violating their right to privacy and source protection. (ANI)