CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Mazhar Abbas

Mazhar Abbas is the former secretary-general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and a 2007 winner of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Remembering Pakistan's bad old days of November 2007

Pakistani journalists pushed back against Musharraf's clampdown on the media in 2007. (AP)

November 3, 2007, was a dark day in the history of Pakistan's media. Former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf banned all private news channels, and some entertainment and sports channels, through an "oral order." He said he made the move to stop "irresponsible journalism." Many of the staff in the president's office who dealt with the media were unaware of his decision; intelligence agencies were used to tell the cable operators to pull the channels off air. Media reacted strongly. After 80 days of struggle, jailings, and legal battles, including sedition cases brought against some journalists, the government backed down from its decision and allowed the channels back on air.