CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Pakistan

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Seeking release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan, jailed in Afghanistan

People buy garments ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Thursday. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

It's not often that CPJ agrees with the Pakistan government, but here is one of the rare occasions when we do. While Pakistan journalists have been pushing for quite a while for the release of one of their colleagues, Faizullah Khan, being held in Nangahar in Afghanistan, the Islamabad government has apparently been working diplomatic back channels. But Thursday, Pervez Rashid, Pakistan's minister for information, went public. He urged Afghanistan's leader to issue a presidential pardon. "I appeal to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to use his powers," to pardon Khan, Rashid said in a press conference in capital Islamabad. He also said the government will pursue his release through legal channels.

Blog   |   Internet, Pakistan

A year after Snowden revelations, damage persists to freedom of expression in Pakistan

In Pakistan, where freedom of expression is largely perceived as a Western notion, the Snowden revelations have had a damaging effect. The deeply polarized narrative has become starker as the corridors of power push back on attempts to curb government surveillance. "If the citizens of the United States of America cannot have these rights, how can you? .." is an argument that rights advocate hear way too often. The Snowden revelations quickly became a moment of recognition for those otherwise labeled as conspiracy theorists who believed that all digital transmissions become a tool that can be used by the U.S. government. Unlike, for example, Brazil, which has fought back, the government of Pakistan is working on ways it could replicate a NSA-like model in this country.

Blog   |   Pakistan

When Pakistan's largest news channel becomes the news

Today, Pakistan's most watched news channel, Geo News, was ordered off the air and fined by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Earlier this week, CPJ documented an attack on Zafar Aheer, an editor of the Urdu-language Daily Jang, by six masked men--the latest in a series of attacks, threats, and acts of intimidation reported by staff working for the Jang/Geo group. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Am I a traitor?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hamid Mir, the executive editor of Pakistan's Geo Television, survived an April 19 assassination attempt, but was badly injured. The shooting came a few weeks after the Pakistani government pledged in a meeting with CPJ to address the insecurity plaguing the country's journalists. Shortly after the attack, some Pakistani media stated that CPJ had received an emailed video from Mir saying that if he were killed, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) was responsible. Mir recently told CPJ that he had sent a video to his lawyer, who did not send it to CPJ. The ISI has denied the allegation it was behind the attack on Mir, according to news reports. This article was initially published in the daily Urdu-language Jang newspaper on May 5, 2014.


There are two types of traitors.

The first kind includes those who join hands with enemies and help enslave their own people. Among the most prominent of these is Jaffar Ali Khan, whose betrayal, as chief of army in 1757, eventually led to the British rule of the subcontinent. Over time, Jaffar's name has become synonymous with treachery.

Blog   |   Pakistan

A verbatim threat from Pakistan, and more

Here is a cut and paste email message sent to staffers at The News, in Islamabad. We have their explicit permission to use it. Actually, they requested that we use it, in the hope that publicizing it will somehow protect them.

Blog   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, no taxation without investigation

In Pakistan, reporting on the military intelligence services or insurgent groups or machinations within political parties is the normal grist for the media mill. A lot of the coverage relies on reporters with inside sources. The sources use the media as a battleground for their infighting, relying on sympathetic reporters to put forward their positions. It keeps the wildly popular TV talk show hosts occupied and tends to fill the inside pages of newspapers, if not always the front pages. It's not a problem unique to Pakistan, but the country's media have taken it to a very high level.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Meeting commitments in Pakistan

A few days after our CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and secured commitments to combat threats to journalists in Pakistan, I sat down with reporters from the country's most restive regions, who described in detail the conditions in which they work. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

What should happen following the Raza Rumi attack

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to form a commission on journalist safety. But there are steps that could be taken more quickly. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

On March 28, gunmen sprayed the car of TV anchor and widely-respected analyst Raza Rumi, a member of the Express Group of media organizations. He escaped serious injury, but his driver, Mustafa, died. It was the fourth attack on the Express Group in eight months, with four people dead. There has been no serious police investigation into the events which took place in Karachi, Peshawar, and now Lahore, where Rumi's car was "bathed in bullets on one of city's main arteries," as The Express Tribune put it in an editorial on Sunday. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Blacklisted in Baluchistan

Willem Marx, right, launched his book 'Balochistan at a Crossroads' on March 13 in New York City. (CPJ/Sumit Galhotra)

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a series of commitments to safeguard press freedom during a meeting with a CPJ delegation last week. Among them was a pledge to speak out in support of media freedom and against attacks on journalists, particularly in high-conflict areas like Baluchistan. 

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