ISLAMABAD—Regretting that 138 journalists have died in the line of duty in Pakistan since 1990, Dawn on Tuesday maintained state and non-state actors are adopting new ways to silence media workers.
In its editorial, Journalists targeted, the paper said the reality under which journalists in Pakistan operate is highly disturbing and points to the rapidly shrinking space for criticism and independent thinking. “Journalists are openly threatened and rebuked on social media—often by accounts linked to the government.”
It added that in 2020 alone, some journalists have been booked in sedition cases while others have been kidnapped—and released after huge public outcry. Though the number of killings has gone down, such tactics of intimidation are on the rise.
The editorial regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan is not ready to accept that the press in Pakistan is facing restrictions. “Unfortunately, when the prime minister is asked about censorship and the kidnappings of journalists, he denies the environment of threats or feigns ignorance. This is not acceptable.”
It added that a hawkish approach to the media and a denial of the dangerous circumstances in which journalists operate betrays authoritarian ambitions and an unwillingness to respect press freedom. “Such an attitude, though common in a dictatorship, has no place in a democracy.”