The offices of Geo News are seen in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 11, 2018. The network was recently blocked in many parts of the country. (Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

News outlets in Pakistan restricted, threatened, censored

July 26, 2019 9:43 AM ET

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Popular broadcaster Geo News was forced off the air in Pakistan hours before Prime Minister Imran Khan began his official visit to the United States. Earlier this month, Pakistan's media regulator blocked broadcasts from at least three news outlets that aired speeches by an opposition leader. CPJ's Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about Pakistan's crackdown on the press, which he says is "getting worse by the day."

In Syria, the family of Alaa Nayef al-Khader al-Khalidi, a freelance photojournalist also known as Wissam al-Dimashqi, was told by a prison official that the journalist had died under torture in Sednaya Military Prison.

Global press freedom updates


Maria Ressa at CPJ's 2018 International Press Freedom Awards. (Getty images/Dia Dipasupil for CPJ)

This week, a cyber-libel trial began in Manila against Maria Ressa, veteran journalist and executive editor of the Philippine news outlet Rappler, over critical reporting in the outlet. If found guilty under the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act, Ressa faces a possible six years in prison, depending on how judges interpret the law. CPJ has reported on the ongoing harassment Ressa has faced, and in 2018 awarded her with our Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

In 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists partnered with First Look Media on the Press Freedom Defense Fund, a fundraising campaign to provide legal support for journalists facing extensive legal battles meant to suppress critical journalism. Rappler and Ressa were the first recipients of the campaign.

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