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Censorship and Silence – The Reality of Media in Pakistan

The voice of a nation is its media. It is the media that has a tremendous influence on the economic, social and political life of a nation’s population. But what happens when this media is forced to become silent.

This is something that is not unknown to the journalists in Pakistan. Media independence in Pakistan is suffering as the authorities are using creative ways to silence the journalists. Elements in the military have been involved in censoring journalists throughout Pakistan’s existence and they even have a direct economic influence on the media industry.

Pakistani Journalists face Arrests and Attacks

According to estimates, in less than last six months, more than 1000 journalists have lost their jobs or faced some kind of a harassment in the form of threats. Suddenly the organizations employing them face a “financial crunch” because they might have been critical of the Pakistan military. The list of journalists who have been attempted to be silenced through the ages is perhaps as long as the history of Pak Military itself. Taha Siddiqui, Cyril Almeida, Matitullah Jan,Umar Cheema, Hamid Mir and the list goes on.

On May 13, 1978 Eleven journalists were prosecuted under Martial Law regulations, and for the first time four journalists received lashing in public.

Journalists in Pakistan live under the constant threat of murder, torture and violence and are no longer safe in their own country. Many of the journalists have preferred to live in exile in a foreign land for the safety of their loved ones and find no chance of moving back to their land anytime soon.

In a past interview, it was seen that several noted journalists who are now residing outside the country were invited back to their homeland by the Pakistan government on the pretext of safety and yet they refused to go back. After all, who would want to get killed at the cost of speaking the truth?

The Deputy General of ISPR, Major General Asif Gafoor, in a recent press conference has said that “Media is the first line of defense”. Hypocrisy, beaming out of his statement, shows, while a spokesperson for the Pak military supports the positive impact of media, at the same time the military run government tries to silence all these honest opinions.

Celebrating a false sense of victory for over five decades and giving it a shape of “Defence Day” is actually a step ahead in the practice of fake News and propaganda which the Pak military is known to be best at. They feel no shame in propagating the myth of 1965 just as they feel no remorse for gagging the voices of the truthful reporters. Will these honest voices ever be able to reach the ears of the gullible and unaware public, only time will tell?


07 Sep 19/Saturday                                                   Written by Naphisa

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