The murder of journalist Aziz Memon in Sindh earlier this year, by unidentified individuals, has highlighted the dangerous ground that media workers operate in. According to the World Press Freedom Index, Pakistan stands at 145 out of 180 countries which shows the seriousness of the state when it comes to protecting journalists and acknowledging the importance of their work.
In 2019, seven journalists were killed and 15 seriously injured while performing their duties whereas 60 journalists were booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act, as per news reports.
Despite a constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression, governments — both civilian and military — have continued to exert control over the media to secure a monopoly on the truth. Recently, in another bid to control the media, the present government proposed to establish ‘media courts’ for swift settlement of cases related to the media. The idea was not only severely criticised but also resisted with full force by all segments of media and civil society. Resultantly, the government reversed its decision. Moreover, despite several appeals the government has yet to release the long outstanding dues of the media in lieu of running official advertisements. Consequently, thousands of media workers have lost their jobs in recent years.