A newspaper vendor is seen in Karachi, Pakistan, on October 7, 2018. The country is currently considering establishing courts specifically for media-related issues. (Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

A concerning plan to establish media courts in Pakistan

September 20, 2019 12:05 AM ET

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Pakistan’s federal cabinet has approved an initiative to establish specialized courts aimed at resolving media-related issues, the government announced on Tuesday. CPJ expressed serious concerns about this plan.

On Monday, CPJ voiced apprehension over the appeal of Aleksei Pukach, who was convicted of murdering Ukrainian investigative journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000. The appeal hearings began on September 4 and will resume on October 9.

Last week, CPJ joined an international press freedom mission to Turkey, meeting with journalists, civil society groups, diplomats, the judiciary, and government officials. The joint mission found that press freedom and the rule of law in Turkey remain in crisis despite grounds for some cautious optimism. The country’s courts opened their new judicial year this month with delayed sentences, fines, and mandatory library time reading about “crimes against dignity” for imprisoned journalists.

Global press freedom updates

  • Researchers from the Open Observatory of Network Interference, a program run by the Tor Project, spoke with CPJ Technology Editor Madeline Earp about how they’re lifting the curtain on internet censorship
  • CPJ sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to push for the release of Azimjon Askarov in Kyrgyzstan
  • A Bolivian court restricted publication of a poll showing tight re-election race for President Evo Morales
  • Somaliland authorities blocked the website of HadhwanaagNews and arrested two employees
  • Tanzanian authorities charged Sebastian Atilio with false news over WhatsApp posts
  • An Uzbek court sentenced blogger Nodirbek Hojimatov to 10 days in prison for Facebook post
  • Uttar Pradesh police arrested and investigated multiple journalists since August 31
  • Russian police raided home of journalist Aleksandr Nikishin
  • Moroccan authorities arrested journalist Hajar Raissouni, charged her with sex outside of marriage and having an illegal abortion


Ramzy Malouki, Blanka Zöldi, Terry Tang, Maria Ressa, and CPJ Board Director Kathleen Carroll speak about the challenges of covering elections. (CPJ)

This week, CPJ participated in events celebrating journalism at the first L.A. Press Freedom Week. Events included a conversation about press freedom and diversity moderated by veteran journalist and CPJ board member Lester Holt, and also included a focus on challenges unique to California, with a panel about local journalists’ efforts to promote transparency in police conduct.

The “Journalists Under Fire” exhibition is seen at Photoville in New York. (CPJ/Ahmed Zidan)

This weekend, CPJ will participate in two panels at Photoville in Brooklyn, New York. On Friday evening, CPJ James W. Foley Fellow Lucy Westcott will moderate a panel, “For Sama: On the Frontline – A female perspective of the Syrian conflict,” and on Sunday, CPJ Emergencies Director María Salazar Ferro will speak on a panel about photographing political polarization in the U.S. Be sure to also check out the “Journalists Under Fire” exhibit, up until October 6.

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