Journalism

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Journalism

  1. 1. BOOK BY: Imtiaz Shahids Mass Communication Mirza Muhammad Yusufs (A-one) Journalism today MEDIAPresident Pervez Musharrafs rule ushered in increased freedom for the print media and a liberalization of broadcasting policies. However, media rules were tightened in 2007 in the midst of an opposition campaign against the president. The legislation gave the broadcasting regulator more power to shut down TV stations. Months later, under emergency rule, broadcasts of private TV stations via cable were disrupted. The expansion of private radio and television stations brought to an end more than five decades of the states virtual monopoly of broadcasting. Television is the dominant medium, and licences for more than 20 private satellite TV stations have been awarded, signalling increased competition for the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation. But there are no private, terrestrial TV stations. Many Pakistanis watch international satellite TV channels, via a dish or an often- unlicensed cable TV operator. Indian channels such as Zee TV and STAR TV are popular with those who can receive them. The channels circumvent censorship in Pakistan that is far more restrictive than in India.Around 100 licences have been issued for private FM radio stations, although not all of them have been taken up. Pakistans media regulator has estimated that the country can support more than 800 private radio stations. Private stations are not allowed to broadcast news. There are regular reports of private FM stations operating illegally, particularly in the tribal areas of North-West Frontier Province. Some of the stations have been accused of fanning sectarian divisions. Pakistan and India regularly engage in a war of words via their respective media, occasionally banning broadcasts from the other country. The government uses a range of legal and constitutional powers to curb press freedom. The shutting down of private TV news channels accompanied thedeclaration of a state of emergency in late 2007, and the law on blasphemy has been used against journalists. Nevertheless, Pakistans print media are among the most outspoken in South Asia.The Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan estimated in March 2007 thatthere were between three and five million internet users. The authorities filter some websites. A small but growing number of bloggers write about political topics. The press • Daily Jang - Karachi-based, Urdu-language; largest-circulation daily
  2. 2. • Dawn - Karachi-based, largest-circulation English-language daily • The Nation - Lahore-based, English-language daily • The Frontier Post - Peshawar-based, English-language • The News - English-language daily, published by Jang group • Daily Ausaf - Islamabad-based, Urdu-language • Daily Times - English-language • Business Recorder - financial daily • Pakistan and Gulf Economist - business weekly • The Friday Times - Lahore-based weekly, English-language Television• Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd - state TV, operates PTV 1, PTV National, PTV Bolan, PTV World • ATV - semi-private, terrestrial network • Geo TV - leading private satellite broadcaster, owned by Jang publishing group; based in Dubai; services include Urdu-language Geo News • Dawn News - private satellite broadcaster, owned by Herald group; first English- language news channel • Aaj TV - private satellite broadcaster, owned by Business Recorder group • Indus TV - private, via satellite, runs Indus Vision, Indus Plus, Indus News, Indus Music• ARY Digital - private, via satellite; services include news channel ARY One World Radio • Radio Pakistan - state-run, operates 25 stations nationwide, an external service and the entertainment-based FM 101 network, aimed at younger listeners • Azad Kashmir Radio - state-run • Mast FM 103 - private, music-based • FM 100 - private, music-based News agency • Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) - state-funded State of the Print Media in Pakistan: 2003-04 Compiled by Adnan Rehmat (adnan@internews.org) Chronology of Violations 27 May 2003 Police prevented journalists from covering a protest by opposition legislators near the Punjabprovincial legislature in Lahore. The next day the journalists boycotted proceedings of the Punjab Assembly, which was called off after ministers Chaudhry Iqbal and Raja Basharat expressedregret over the incident and promised action against the police officers responsible. 30 June 2003 A large police posse raided the office of Urdu language monthly journal Shahrag-e- Pakistan in
  3. 3. Lahore, detaining editor-in-chief Khalid Mehmood Shah in the magazine office for two days.According to Shah, about 70 policemen attacked his office, searching for his brother, thespokesman for opposition political leader Shahbaz Sharif. He says the leaders of the raid roughed him up for the magazine’s alleged critical stance against the government. 8 July 2003 An additional district and sessions court of Peshawar in North West Frontier Province convicted asub-editor of English daily The Frontier Post, Munawar Mohsin, in a blasphemy case andsentenced him to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000 (US$900). Judge Sardar Irshad held Mohsin responsible for publication of a blasphemous letter in the Post on 29 January 2001, which triggered violent protests. Blasphemy is punishable by death under Pakistani law but the maximum sentence has never been applied. 10 July 2003The government of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, imposed curbs on the media as part of its series of measures to deal with ethnic and sectarian tensions caused by a recent bomb explosion that killed dozens of people at a Shia mosque. An official notification bannednewspapers from publishing news, articles, statements, photographs, editorials and cartoons thatcould “fan ethnic and sectarian tensions.” It asked editors, printers and publishers to submit all such material to the public relations director for scrutiny before publication. 23 July 2003 The government banned distribution of the international magazine Newsweek, saying it contained material “against Islam and the holy Quran.” A notification issued to this effect, and mentioned in the press, directed customs authorities to seize all copies of the magazine’s 28 July 2003 edition. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told BBC in an interview the action had been taken because “the article could create anxiety among Pakistanis, hurt their sentiments and infuriate them.” He said the action was approved by Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali. 15 August 2003
  4. 4. Police arrested Rasheed Azeem, correspondent for daily Intikhab, joint editor of Roshnai, a quarterly journal focusing on human rights, and president of Jhalawan Union of Journalists, in Balochistan province, for allegedly committing sedition. According to Javed Gharshin, a policeofficial at the Crime Branch, Quetta, the arrest came on the orders of an intelligence agency after Azeem, affiliated with Balochistan National Party (Mengal faction), distributed in Khuzdar city a poster “depicting the army beating up Baloch natives.” Azeem remains in custody after being denied bail by the local court. ________________________________________ 17 August 2003 The Pakistan government protested with the United States for the investigation of Nayyar Zaidi, a Washington correspondent for Urdu daily Jang, the flagship publication of Pakistans largest media group, by the US Federal Bureau ofInvestigation (FBI). A letter signed by Deputy Chief of Mission at Pakistan Embassy inWashington Mohammed Sadiq and sent to the State Department said Zaidi is a “very senior and respected journalist who has represented his newspaper in Washington for more than two decades” and that “the StateDepartment is well aware of his credentials.” According to Zaidi, three FBI agents – Chris McKinney, Heather Grow and Michelle Crest – visited his home in Prince County, Virginia, on 20 February 2003 while he was away. They tried to interrogate his 15-year-old son, Zain Zaidi, who telephoned him, but when he
  5. 5. arrived home the agents had left. They left a telephone number for Zaidi tocontact them. When Zaidi called the number, agent McKinney asked him to come to the FBI’s Washington field office, where the agent asked him several questions about his personal, social and religious activities. The agent had asked him to bring his telephone notebook because he claimed that Zaidi’s home telephone was used to make calls to 10 telephone numbers in Pakistan, India, China, the Netherlands and Thailand. The numbers “brush off” against those already under investigation for links to the events of 9/11, McKinney said. When Zaidi met the three agents at the field office, they released two numbers in Pakistan and China. Zaidi says thenumber in Pakistan is very similar to one of his newspaper’s fax numbers, to which he sends news stories. The Pakistani number was officially investigated by the embassy and turned out to be a disconnectednumber for a bankrupt textile company. One of the agents, Grow, refused to disclose all 10 numbers to Zaidi, saying she felt very uncomfortable doing so. Zaidi offered to cooperate with the FBI, but refused to give them his telephone notebook and records unless the agents had legal grounds for making the demand. Zaidi says that after the initial investigation, the FBI did not contact him for several months. However, on 8 August, two different FBI agents visited his home while he wasaway and left a message for Zaidi to call them. He called them on 11 August and left three messages, but the FBI never called back. 21 August 2003
  6. 6. Mahmudul Haq, the municipal administrator of Sheikhupura town in Punjab province, filed police cases against nine local journalists, including local press club president, Rana Sarwar, and secretary-general, Azeem Yazdani, claiming they had “interfered in official affairs.” Haq was reacting to articles published alleging that he and his city council staff members were involved in corrupt activities, including allegedly illegal charging for parking from the public at a local park. 26 August 2003 The police arrested six journalists under terrorism laws during a visit of President General Pervez Musharraf to Hyderabad city of Sindh province. They were charged with disturbing the peace and committing violent acts. The journalists were covering a demonstration staged by the women’swing of Sindh Chandia Welfare Association to coincide with the arrival of Musharraf at Mehran University in Jamshoro, where he addressed a meeting of vice-chancellors. The journalists – Nadeem Panwar, Hakim Chandio, Sharif Abro, Irfan Burfat, Shahid Khushk and Haji Khan Sial – were freed a few days later after journalists covering Sindh provincial legislature proceedingsstaged a walkout to protest the arrests and provincial ministers issued directives to release them. 10 September 2003 ________________________________________ Acting allegedly on the orders of the speaker of the North West Frontier Province legislature, the entire staff of the Assembly Secretariat attacked journalists covering the assembly proceedingsafter the latter were denied a meeting with the speaker and protested. Wielding iron bars and sticks, they damaged the motorcycles of the journalists. Police personnel stood by and did not intervene. The staff also assaulted a journalist in the speaker’s chamber in the presence of Law Minister Zafar Alam despite his protestations. The journalists then boycotted the assembly proceedings.
  7. 7. 18 September 2003 Two journalists from Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan – Nasrullah Afridi, correspondent for daily Mashriq, and Aurangzaib Afridi, correspondent for daily Subah – were detained and roughed up by Tanzeem Ittehad-e-Ulema, a fundamental organisation outlawed by the government, for reporting about their activities. They were freed after pressure from influential persons and have continued receiving threats. They have been warned “to fear for your lives ifyou don’t give up the idea of free press in the tribal areas.” Nasrullah is the president and Aurangzaib the vice president of the Tribal Union of Journalists. 26 September 2003The authorities refused to accept a plea by Reporters Sans Frontieres for transfer to hospital of Rehmat Shah Afridi, former editor of daily papers The Frontier Post and Maidan, who is in jailawaiting execution for alleged possession and trafficking of drugs. Because of denial of proper medical attention, Afridi’s has developed a serious heart condition and lost a great deal of weight. Afridi, who is appealing the sentence, was arrested on 2 April 1999, and on 27 June 2001 sentenced to be hanged. He says he was convicted as an act of revenge by the Anti- Narcotics Force. The two papers had frequently exposed corruption, drug trafficking and illegal arms sale 3 October 2003 Amir Bux Brohi, 30, correspondent for Sindhi daily Kawish and Kawish Television News (KTN) channel, known for his reports on rights violations by police and powerful local figures in Sindh province, was shot dead in Shikarpur by three gunmen. Brohi was stopped as he returned from the local police headquarters and shot at close range. Eyewitnesses said Brohi quarrelled with the assailants before they pumped five bullets in his chest. The identity and the motive of the killers have not been traced or ascertained.
  8. 8. 22 November 2003 Three unidentified assailants set fire to the car of Amir Mir, the senior assistant editor for monthlycurrent affairs magazine Herald. The car was parked outside his house in Lahore in Punjabprovince. Mir claims he received a call the next day from a security agency warning him “this was only the beginning.” Mir had only recently resigned as editor of Independent, a Lahore-based weekly, under pressure from local government officials who accused the magazine of carrying articles “against the national interest.” 16 December 2003 Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, a Pakistani journalist, was arrested along with two French journalists, MarcEpstein and Jean-Paul Guilloteau, of the newsweekly LExpress, from Karachi. While theauthorities denied they were holding Rizvi, they said the French journalists were in custody forvisa violations and accused them of making a fake film showing allegedly fabricated militant activity on Pakistani territory by the Taliban group. 8 January 2004 ________________________________________ A sentence of life imprisonment was awarded by a local court in Karachi in Sindh province to Aziz Qureshi, the accused in the bombing of the advertising office of daily Nawa-i-Waqt in Karachi.Four people, including a woman who was reportedly carrying the bomb, died in the blast in the Nawa-i-Waqt office on 6 November 2000. Qureshi was arrested on 2 March 2002 and pleaded guilty. 12 January 2003 French journalists, Marc Epstein and Jean-Paul Guilloteau, of the newsweekly LExpress, were freed after pleading guilty of visa violations and paying fines announced by a court in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. They were initially also handed six-month prison sentence whichwere waived. The authorities still denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Pakistani journalist
  9. 9. Khawar Mehdi Rizvi. 24 January 2004 Pakistani authorities finally conceded they were holding Khawar Mehdi Rizvi and formally charged him with sedition, conspiracy, and impersonation. The maximum penalty for the charges is life imprisonment. The authorities said Mehdi aided French journalists, Marc Epstein and Jean- Paul Guilloteau, of the newsweekly LExpress, in preparing a n allegedly fake film about militant activity Pakistan, which had put the country in a bad light. 29 January 2004Sajid Tanoli, 34, a reporter for daily Shumaal (North), was killed by Khalid Javed, the mayor (nazim) of Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province. Javed shot Tanoli five times in broad daylight on one of the town’s streets and fled. Tanoli was killed after he wrote an article on 26 January about an allegedly illegal liquor business (banned in the province) run by Javed. Enraged by the article, Javed filed a libel suit against Shumaal on 27 January. Two days later he shot Tanoli dead. 24 February 2004A bomb exploded outside the offices of Jang, the flagship publication of the country’s largest media group, in Quetta in Balochistan province, blowing out windows in neighbouring buildings. No one was injured in the blast at the Urdu-language daily. An unknown group calling itself Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility but gave no reason for the attack. 25 February 2004Arif Nizami, editor of the daily The Nation and executive editor of daily Nawa-i-Waqt announced the government has banned the placement of government advertisement in newspapersbelonging to the Nawa-i-Waqt group of publications, one of Pakistan’s largest media organisations. Nizami claimed the ban was a result of his group of publication’s opposition to government policies and said “negates the government claims that the Pakistan media is freed.”
  10. 10. 29 February 2004 Hundreds of protestors from religious groups demonstrating against private TV channel Geo forairing an allegedly controversial episode of a popular religious programme attacked the Karachi Press Club, seriously wounding a guard and causing serious damage to the premise andproperty. Dozens of protesters scaled the press club’s walls, broke windows, beat up guard Mohammed Rafiq and ransacked the premises. Several journalists took cover in a room on thefirst floor. The protestors then tried to reach the premises of nearby Jang Group, the parent company of Geo TV, but were stooped by the police. ________________________________________ 1 March 2004 In the small hours on 1 March, several unidentified armed men conducted coordinated raids on newspaper distribution points in various parts of Karachi in Sindh province. They aimed their guns at news vendors, forcibly took bundles of newspapers, set them ablaze and fled. No explanation was given and their identity has not been traced. 2 March 2004About two dozen rioters broke into the building housing the offices of daily Jang and Geo TV, both belonging to the country’s largest media group, the Jang Group, in Quetta, in Balochistan province. Administrative records, newspapers and other materials were set ablaze. The office was closed for a holiday and no one was injured. The attack came after sectarian clashes broke out in the city. 4 March 2004Shahbaz Pathan, a correspondent for daily Halchal, in Sukkur in Sindh province, was kidnapped by armed bandits as he played badminton with friends. He was taken, along with one of his friends, to the nearby Shah Belo forests, which is reportedly infested with bandits. Shahbaz and his brother Asad, who is the general secretary of the Sukkur Press Club, had produced a documentary on the activities of the bandits.
  11. 11. 27 March 2004 After being held by the authorities for over 100 days, during which he says he was tortured, Pakistani journalist Khawar Mehdi Rizvi was granted bail. Judge Hashim Kakar of the anti- terrorism court in Quetta, in Balochistan province, ordered his release on a surety bond of Rs 200,000 ($3,500). Rizvi was freed the next day. 11 April 2004 Zulfiqar Khaskheli, a reporter in Nawabshah for Sindhi-language daily Ibrat, was severely beatenby police, affecting his eyesight and hearing. His thrashing was so severe that he had to be hospitalized, while being chained and handcuffed. Local police chief Sarwar Jamali arrested Khaskheli for reporting on gambling operations in the district under the district police officer’s command. He was released on bail. 21 April 2004 Afghan journalist Sami Yousafzai was arrested in the tribal areas, where he was working with American reporter Eliza Griswold, who was later expelled from the country. Griswold, a freelance reporter and regular contributor to the American weekly The New Yorker, Yousafzai, a stringer for Newsweek magazine, and their driver were arrested at a checkpoint in Bakakhel, near Bannu inthe North West Frontier Province, as they attempted to enter North Waziristan. The American journalist was wearing a burqa to avoid being identified. A few hours earlier, the journalists had been turned back at the Jandola checkpoint and not allowed to enter the South Waziristan tribal area. The two and their driver were questioned for several hours and then allowed to return towards Peshawar. But the authorities rearrested them near Bannu. Griswold was expelled to the US a few days later, but Yousafzai and his driver were still being held incommunicado. Yousafzaiwas working as a fixer for Griswold in the tribal areas. They did not have the special authorization demanded by the authorities since the start of the Pakistani military offensive
  12. 12. against armed Taliban and al-Qaeda groups in South Waziristan. No foreign journalist has been able to travel tothe region with official authorization. However, dozens of journalists from the tribal areas and Pakistani reporters have been able to work in the area freely. ________________________________________ The Fine Print in Pakistan Gets Blurry There has been a major deterioration in the state of the print media in general and the working conditions for journalists in particular in Pakistan this past year. Murders, kidnappings, arrests, imprisonments, torture, attacks, imposed news blackouts – Pakistani journalists have seen it all this year. In a rollercoaster year that has seen their freedoms shrinking, they have been charged with some of the most serious crimes anyone can be tried in Pakistan – such as blasphemy, which carries the death penalty, and sedition, which punishes with life imprisonment. For the Pakistani print media, the culprits have been varied – Islamists, sectarian parties, robbers, elected public representatives – but the authorities have emerged as the wrongdoer-in-chief by far, representing a worsening of the environment in which journalists can practice their profession, as enshrined in and guaranteed by the constitution, to their natural potentials, in safety and without fear or favour. Contrastingly, the electronic media in the country, in the same period, has seen a drastic improvement with the policy of liberalisation of the airwaves set in motion by the militarygovernment of President General Pervez Musharraf in 2002 and carried forward by the electedgovernment of Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali, bringing in more and more private players in both the radio and television sectors. About 60 private FM radio licenses had been issued by early 2004 and about a dozen private Pakistani TV channels had been accorded permission to go on air while literally hundreds of
  13. 13. foreign channels promised in Direct-to-Home (DTH) bouquets by both the state and private sectors – massively increasing the number of alternative sources of independent information for Pakistanis who until recently had just the propagandist state-owned television and radio to rely on. While the recent developments on the electronic media front are a cause, in large measure, for celebration, those in the print sector are grounds for antagonism and call for demonstration fromall sectors of society in general and the government in particular the commitment to upholding complete journalistic freedoms so that the print media can play to its maximum potential as theguardian of public interest and act as an agent of accountability, and therefore, good governance. MURDER: In the period between 3 May 2003 and 3 May 2004 – the third of May being theInternational Press Freedom Day – two journalists were murdered in Pakistan. The first was Amir Bux Brohi, 30, correspondent for Sindhi daily Kawish and Kawish Television News (KTN) channel, known for his reports on rights violations by police and powerful local figures in Sindhprovince. He was shot dead on 3 October 2003 in Shikarpur by three gunmen. Brohi was stopped as he returned from the local police headquarters and shot at close range. The second was SajidTanoli, 34, a reporter for daily Shumaal (North), who on 29 January 2004 was killed by Khalid Javed, the nazim (mayor) of Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province. Javed shot Tanoli five times in broad daylight on one of the town’s streets and fled. Tanoli was killed after he wrote an article about an allegedly illegal liquor business (banned in the province) run by Javed. In neither case have the culprits been arrested, tried or punished. BLASPHEMY: On 8 July 2003, a court in Peshawar in North West Frontier Province convicted asub-editor of English daily The Frontier Post, Munawar Mohsin, in a blasphemy case and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000 ($900). Mohsin was
  14. 14. held responsible for publication of a blasphemous letter in the Post on 29 January 2001, which triggered violent protests. Blasphemy is punishable by death under Pakistani law but the maximum sentence has never been applied. ARRESTED: On 26 August 2003, the police arrested six journalists under terrorism laws during a visit of President General Pervez Musharraf to Hyderabad city of Sindh province. They werecharged with disturbing the peace and committing violent acts. The journalists were covering a ________________________________________ demonstration staged by a local women’s group to coincide with the arrival of Musharraf at Mehran University in Jamshoro, where he addressed a meeting of vice-chancellors. The journalists – Nadeem Panwar, Hakim Chandio, Sharif Abro, Irfan Burfat, Shahid Khushk and Haji Khan Sial – were freed a few days later after journalists covering Sindh provincial legislatureproceedings staged a walkout to protest the arrests and provincial ministers issued directives to release them. KIDNAPPED: On 4 March 2004, Shahbaz Pathan, a correspondent for daily Halchal, in Sukkur in Sindh province, was kidnapped by armed bandits as he played badminton with friends. He was taken, along with one of his friends, to the nearby Shah Belo forests, which is reportedly infested with bandits. Shahbaz and his brother Asad, who is the general secretary of the Sukkur Press Club, had produced a documentary on the activities of the bandits. INTIMIDATION BY RELIGIOUS GROUPS: On 18 September 2003, two journalists from Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan – Nasrullah Afridi, correspondent for daily Mashriq,and Aurangzaib Afridi, correspondent for daily Subah – were detained and roughed up by Tanzeem Ittehad-e-Ulema, a fundamentalist organisation outlawed by the government, for reporting about their activities. They were freed after pressure from influential persons and have continued receiving threats. They have been warned “to fear for your lives if you
  15. 15. don’t give up the idea of free press in the tribal areas.” On 29 February 2004, hundreds of protestors from religious groups demonstrating against private TV channel Geo for airing an allegedly controversialepisode of a popular religious programme attacked the Karachi Press Club, seriously wounding a guard and causing serious damage to the premise and property. Dozens of protesters scaled the press club’s walls, broke windows, beat up guard Mohammed Rafiq and ransacked the premises. Several journalists took cover in a room on the first floor. The protestors then tried to reach thepremises of nearby Jang Group, the parent company of Geo TV, but were stooped by the police. INTIMIDATION BY THE AUTHORITIES: On 25 February 2004, Arif Nizami, editor of the daily The Nation and executive editor of daily Nawa-i-Waqt announced the government has bannedthe placement of government advertisement in newspapers belonging to the Nawa- i-Waqt group of publications, one of Pakistan’s largest media organisations. Nizami claimed the ban was a result of his group of publication’s opposition to government policies and said “negates the government claims that the Pakistan media is freed.” ATTACK: On 24 February 2004, a bomb exploded outside the offices of Jang, the flagship publication of the country’s largest media group, in Quetta in Balochistan province, blowing out windows in neighbouring buildings. No one was injured in the blast at the Urdu- language daily. An unknown group calling itself Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility but gave no reason for the attack. NEWS BLACKOUT: On 10 July 2003, the authorities in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, imposed curbs on the media as part of its series of measures to deal with ethnic andsectarian tensions caused by a recent bomb explosion that killed dozens of people at a Shia mosque. An official notification banned newspapers from publishing news, articles, statements,
  16. 16. photographs, editorials and cartoons that could “fan ethnic and sectarian tensions.” It asked editors, printers and publishers to submit all such material to the public relations director for scrutiny before publication. SEDITION: On 15 August 2003, the police arrested Rasheed Azeem, correspondent for daily Intikhab, joint editor of Roshnai, a quarterly journal focusing on human rights, and president of Jhalawan Union of Journalists, in Balochistan province, for allegedly committing sedition. According to Javed Gharshin, a police official at the Crime Branch, Quetta, the arrest came onthe orders of an intelligence agency after Azeem, affiliated with Balochistan National Party(Mengal faction), distributed in Khuzdar city a poster “depicting the army beating up Baloch natives.” Azeem remains in custody after being denied bail by the local court. ________________________________________ By far the most high-profile case of violation of media freedoms in Pakistan in the past year was that of Pakistani journalist Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, who was charged, among other things, with sedition, which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, for abetting foreign journalists in preparing an allegedly fake film “showing Pakistan in a bad light,” as the authorities put it. On 16 December 2003, Rizvi was arrested along with two French journalists, Marc Epstein and Jean-Paul Guilloteau, of the newsweekly LExpress, from Karachi. Rizvi was acting as a fixer for the French journalists. They had just returned from Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province, which borders southeast Afghanistan, the stronghold of the Taliban. The authorities seized all filmed material from the journalists. While the authorities initially denied they were holding Rizvi, they said the French journalists were in custody for visa violations – they had not been issued visas for Quetta, but for Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi only – and accused the duo of faking a report about armed Taliban activities
  17. 17. along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan. On 12 January 2003, Epstein and Guilloteau were freed after pleading guilty of visa violations and paying Rs 200,000 ($3,500) in fines announced by a court in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. They were initially handed six-month prison sentenced which were converted into fineson an appeal. The authorities still denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Rizvi, the Pakistani journalist assistant of the French journalists. On 24 January 2004, the authorities finally conceded they were holding Khawar Mehdi Rizvi and formally charged him with sedition, conspiracy, and impersonation in an anti- terrorism court in Quetta. The maximum penalty for the charges is life imprisonment. Rizvi is charged with violating the sedition law under Pakistan’s Penal Code, Section 124-A, which is defined as using speech that “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excitedisaffection towards, the Central or Provincial Government established by law.” The authoritiessaid Rizvi aided the two French journalists in preparing an allegedly fake film about militant activity Pakistan, which had put the country in a bad light. After a concerted worldwide campaign by Pakistani and foreign journalists – over 3,000 journalists and media workers signed a worldwide petition drawn up by a committee campaigningfor his release (www.freekhawar.org) – Rizvi was finally granted bail on a surety bond of Rs 200,000 ($3,500) by Judge Hashim Kakar of the anti-terrorism court, who also ordered his release. Rizvi was freed on 29 January 2004. He has been allowed to live in his hometown Islamabad but will have to appear in person at each court hearing in Quetta, over 1,000 km away.The whole Rizvi case raises troubling questions about the very nature of the work of media persons in Pakistan, putting in doubt the extent of who they can work with, what kind of work they can do, discriminatory trial treatment, pre-judgment as well as aspersions on both their
  18. 18. professional work and personal life even before a court of law has had a chance to try an accused.For instance, even though arrested together in the same case, the French journalists were triedonly for violating visa rules and not for making the allegedly fake film about Taliban militant activities, for which Rizvi is being tried. So while the makers and sponsors of the allegedly fakefilm are let off with relatively small fines, the “abettor” – Rizvi – is slapped with a far graver charge of sedition, which can potentially land him in jail for life if found guilty. The authorities initially denied even knowing about the whereabouts of Rizvi even though state- run Pakistan Television (PTV) had shown the Pakistani journalist with officials in security uniform. After over 100 days in custody, the authorities admitted they were holding him, charging him andpresenting him in an anti-terrorism court. Under Pakistani law, the authorities must present before a magistrate within 48 hours anyone they have arrested to seek permission to interrogate. In the over 100 days of detention, Rizvi was neither produced before a magistrate nor allowed access to his family or a lawyer in violation of fundamental law of the land. ________________________________________ While he had no recourse to defend himself, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf personally cast doubt on the professional qualities of Rizvi on 29 December 2004, much before the authorities even conceded they were holding him. Musharraf told representatives of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society: “This freelance journalist has done terrible harm to the national interest in making this fake film on the Taliban and for only 2,000 dollars. If he had come to me I would have been able to give him 3,000 dollars not to make this film.” The authorities even questioned Rizvi’s credentials as a journalist even though he has worked for The News, one of Pakistan’s largest newspapers, TF1, France 2, Le Monde, Libération and Arte. Rizvi appeared in court with two other men, Allah Noor and Abdullah Shakir, accused of filming
  19. 19. what police said was a fictitious Taliban camp, conducting an interview with a man who theyclaimed was a middle-ranking Taliban commander. Rizvi and the French journalists say the interview is genuine; the authorities say it is a fabrication. They allege that Rizvi intentionally hired Noor and Shakir to impersonate members of the Taliban in video footage made by the French journalists. This footage of Noor and Shakir has been shown on state television, PTV.After being freed on bail, Rizvi said he had not broken the law and had “simply done my job as a journalist.” He thanked everyone who had campaigned for his release, especially fellow journalists in Pakistan and all over the world. “I now know the true value of press freedom and will continue my work as a journalist with renewed vigor,” he added. GOOD NEWS: As far as justice for the media in a case of attack against it goes, the only good news came on 8 January 2004 when a sentence of life imprisonment was awarded by a localcourt in Karachi in Sindh province to Aziz Qureshi, the accused in the bombing of the advertising office of daily Nawa-i-Waqt in Karachi three years earlier. Four people, including a woman who was reportedly carrying the bomb, died in the blast in the Nawa-i-Waqt office on 6 November 2000. Qureshi was arrested on 2 March 2002 and pleaded guilty. PAKISTAN Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers BASIC DATA Official Country Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan Region (Map name): East & South Asia Population: 144,616,639 Language(s): Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraki,Pashtu, Urdu (official),Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, English Literacy rate: 45% Area: 803,940sq km, (796096 sq.miles)
  20. 20. GDP: 61,638 (US$ millions) Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 1,492 (Rupees millions) As % of All Ad Expenditures: 22.60 Number of Television Stations: 22 Number of Television Sets: 3,100,000 Television Sets per 1,000: 21.4 Number of Radio Stations: 55 Number of Radio Receivers: 13,500,000 Radio Receivers per 1,000: 93.4 Number of Individuals with Computers: 590,000 Computers per 1,000: 4.1 Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 133,875 Internet Access per 1,000: 0.9 BACKGROUND & GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS General Description The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is celebrating 60 years of independence on 14th august 2007. These years have often been turbulent ones, given that military rulers have remained heads of state for about 36years of these 60 years. This fact has affected the press and laws governing the press in Pakistan. In 1947 when the British agreed to partition British India into the two self- governing countries of India and Pakistan, only four major Muslim-owned newspapers existed in the area now called Pakistan: Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-i-Waqt, and Civil and Military Gazette, all locatedin Lahore. However, a number of Muslim papers moved to Pakistan, including Dawn, which began publishing daily in Karachi in 1947. Other publications moving toPakistan included the Morning News and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam.By the early 2000s, 1,500 newspapers and journals exist in Pakistan, including thosepublished in English, Urdu, and in regional languages; and the press remains strong and central to public life in spite of government efforts to control it. NATURE OF THE AUDIENCE As of July 2001, Pakistans estimated population stood at 144,616,639, with menslightly outnumbering women. Ethnic groups within the population include Punjabi,Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, and Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time ofpartition and their descendants). Although Urdu is the official language of Pakistan,only about 8 percent of the people speak it. Forty-eight percent speak Punjabi and 8 percent speak English, which is considered the lingua franca of Pakistani elite andmost government ministries. Other languages include Sindhi (12 percent), Siraiki (a
  21. 21. Punjab variant; 10 percent), Pashtu (8 percent), Balochi (3 percent), Hindko (2 percent), Brahui (1 percent), and Burushaski and others (8 percent). Pakistans press reflects this language diversity. Newspapers that publish in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, have a broader reach than the English-language papers. According to Londons Financial Times, the combined circulation of Pakistans entire English-language press is no more than 150,000 in a population one hundred times that size. In terms of distribution, the English-language papers seem to be skewed toward the more liberal elite whereas the Urdu press appeals to the masses and includes scandal sheets as well as respected journals, religious papers, and party organs. Literacy seems to play a part in this distribution pattern. Only 42.7 percent of the Pakistani population (age 15 and over) can read and write. However, many adultliteracy centers have been established in recent years; in addition, the Peoples Open University was opened at Islamabad to provide mass adult education through correspondence and the communications media. Quality of Journalism: General CommentsThe press in Pakistan holds significant power and has suffered much under variouspolitical leaders, only to emerge resilient and more committed to freedom of speech. The presss existence is remarkable given the often harsh means used by government officials and military dictators to control it. The press is, in fact, central to public life in Pakistan because it provides a forum for debating issues of national importance. As the national English-language daily The News notes, "[The press] has in fact replaced what think tanks and political partiesin other countries would do. Columnists engage in major debates and discussions on issues ranging from national security to the social sector."The competitive nature of politics helps to ensure press freedom, because the media often serve as a forum for political parties, commercial, religious, and otherinterests, as well as influential individuals, to compete with and criticize each otherpublicly. Islamic beliefs, which are taught in the public schools, are widely reflected by the mass media. Although the press does not criticize Islam as such, leaders ofreligious parties and movements are not exempt from public scrutiny and criticism. The press traditionally has not criticized the military; the Office of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) closely controls and coordinates the release of military news. In general, the quality of journalism is high. English language newspapers tend to present more foreign news than Pakistani papers in other languages. Physical Characteristics of Newspapers The typical Pakistani newspaper is of regular rather than tabloid size, averaging
  22. 22. about 20 pages per issue. Most newspapers have a weekend, midweek, andmagazine section. All the leading newspapers, including Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt, Dawn, The NationThe News International, and Business Recorder, have online editions. Circulation Information The All-Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) estimated that the total combined circulation figure for daily newspapers and other periodicals was 3.5 million in 1997. Print media included 424 dailies, 718 weeklies, 107 fortnightlies, and 553monthlies. Deficient literacy rates, urban orientation of the press, and the high priceof newspapers are considered primary factors contributing to low circulation rates. Jang is the top daily newspaper with a circulation of 850,000. Nawa-e-Waqt holdssecond place with 500,000, followed by Pakistan (279,000), Khabrain (232,000),The News (120,000), Dawn (109,000), and Business Recorder (22,000).The three most influential newspapers in Pakistan are the daily Dawn in English, the daily Jang in Urdu, and the daily Business Recorder in the area of business and finance. The average price of a newspaper varies from Rs 5 to Rs 15. For example, Business Recorder costs Rs 7 per issue. ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK Overview of the Economic Climate & Its Influence on Media Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country, and the welfare of its people is severely affected by internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and ongoing problems with neighboring India. The majority of Pakistans citizens are heavily dependent on agriculture for employment. Despite steady expansion of industry during the 1990s, Pakistans economy remains dominated by agriculture. In 1998, agriculture engaged 47 percent of the labor force and accounted for 24 percent of the gross domestic product as well as close to 70 percent of export revenues. Despite strong performances in the industrial and agricultural sectors, a growing debt-servicing burden, large government expenditures on public enterprises, low tax revenues, and high levels of defense spending contributed to serious financial deficits. Besides a select few major groups, Pakistani media organizations face chronic financial problems. Newspapers are heavily dependent on advertising revenue as income. Revenues from display advertising for all media amounted to US $120 million in 1998. Television held the largest share of media advertising revenues at 40 percent, followed by newspapers at 32 percent, magazines at 10 percent, and radio at 3percent. Government agencies are the largest advertiser, accounting for 30 percent of all advertising in national newspapers. The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint,
  23. 23. and its ability to enforce regulations. For example, the countrys leading Urdu daily,Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakil Ur-Rehman, were cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang Group was also served with approximately US $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. Jang also reportedly had difficulty obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.Due to pressures from national and international organizations, the trend is toward greater press freedom and democracy. Although the government is the presss largest advertiser, privatization of major industries and banks is causing thegovernment to lose its control over the press and is attempting to counter this trend by enforcing new restrictions. NEWSPAPERS IN THE MASSEDIA MILIEU: PRINT VS. ELECTRONIC Digicom, a private e-mail provider, brought Internet access to Karachi in 1995.Nationwide local access was established within one year, and by 1999 was available to 600,000 computers, 60,000 users by 3,102 Internet hosts. Internet capabilities provided news media with a means for reaching overseas Pakistanis. All leadingnewspapers, including Jang, Nawa-e-WaqtDawnThe Nation,The News International, and Business Recorder, have online editions. In addition, Pakistan BroadcastingCorporation and Pakistan Television Corporation both have web sites accessible to the public. Types of Ownership Three main groups dominate Pakistan: the Jang Group, the Herald Group, and theNawae-Waqt Group. Jang Publications is the largest media group and holds a virtualmonopoly of Urdu readership in Sindh, Rawalpindi-Islamabad federal territory, and major shares in Lahore and Quetta. Jang also publishes the largest circulatingweekly magazine in Urdu, Akhbare-Jehan, and two evening papers, the Daily NewsandAwam. The News, the first Pakistani newspaper to use computers in all steps of production, is also a publication of the Jang Group. Pakistan Herald Publications Ltd. publishes Dawn, which has had a dominant hold over Karachi readership. The Herald Group also publishes the Star (an English evening paper) and The Herald (an influential English monthly). The group alsobegan a monthly that focuses on the Internet, entitled Spider. Publications under the Herald Group target the upper class and the better-educated segment of Pakistani society and consequently practice a liberal editorial policy. The Nawa-e-Waqt Group publishes Nawa-e-Waqt and also started The Nation, an English daily. This group also publishes Family, an Urdu weekly. Several other significant groups and independent publications also exist. The notable daily newspaper chains that have started during the late 1990s and early
  24. 24. 2000s include Khabrain, PakistanAusaf, and Din. The Frontier Post, Business Recorder, and Amn are also other important dailies. Political parties own two major newspapers: the Jasarat, controlled by the conservative Jannat-e-Islami, and Mussawat, controlled by the Pakistan Peoples Party.From 1964 into the early 1990s, the National Press Trust acted as the governments front to control the press. The state, however, no longer publishes daily newspapers; the former Press Trust sold or liquidated its newspapers and magazines in the early 1990s. Distribution Networks The majority of Pakistans newspapers and magazines strive for national readership. Such major successful dailies are published simultaneously from anumber of cities and are produced in different languages to facilitate distribution throughout the countrys various regions. Distribution is through a network of newspaper hawkers; in smaller towns, hawkers also serve as stringers fornewspapers. Buses are used for nearby distribution and airfreights are utilized for faraway cities when schedules permit. Newsprint Availability Pakistans various governments have used newsprint availability as a means to control the Press. In the recent past, import of newsprint by the print media was subject to issuance of permits by theMinistry of Information and Broadcasting. This practice allowed the government to patronize sections of the press. In April 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhuttos government decided to end thismanipulative practice. By replacing the permit system with a free and open import of newsprint at market prices, the government removed its interventionistdimension in controlling an essential raw material for the press and also ended the corruption that had grown up around the issuance and receipt of the newsprint import permits.In 1991, however, the first government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif restored the system of issuing permits. The Audit Bureau of Circulation, which functions under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, was responsible for assessing the circulation and print orders of newspapers and magazines and issuing certificates legitimizing these figures. The bureau certificates became the basis on which journals were able to import proportionate quantities of newsprint and secure government-controlled advertising through the clearance given by the Press Information Department. Corrupt practices have been associated with the ABC operation.
  25. 25. The current government of General Musharraf has considerable leverage over thepress through its control over newsprint, its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, and its ability to enforce regulations. Influences on Editorial Policies Privately owned newspapers freely discuss public policy and criticize the government. They report remarks made by opposition politicians, and theireditorials reflect a wide range of views. The effort to ensure that newspapers carry their statements or press releases sometimes leads to undue pressure by local police, political parties, ethnic, sectarian, and religious groups, militant student organizations, and occasionally commercial interests. Such pressure is a common feature of journalism and can include physical violence, sacking of offices, intimidation and beating of journalists, and interference with distribution ofnewspapers. Journalists working in small provincial towns and villages encounter more difficulties from arbitrary local authorities and influential individuals than their big-city counterparts do. Violence against and intimidation of journalists, however, is a nationwide problem. Government leaks, although not uncommon, are managed carefully; it is common knowledge that journalists, who are routinely underpaid, are on the unofficial payrolls of many competing interests, and the military (or elements within it) ispresumed to be no exception. For example, according to the All Pakistan NewspaperSociety, favorable press coverage of the Prime Ministers family compound south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or nondeferential reporter are common. Special-interest lobbies are not in existence in Pakistan as in the United States and elsewhere, but political pressure groups and leaders include the military, ulema (clergy), landowners, industrialists, and some small merchants. Industrial Relations and Labor Unions Several unions represent Pakistani newspapers and their respective journalists. Editors and other management-level employees belong to the All Pakistan Newspaper Society and/or the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors. Otheremployees, including reporters, belong to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and/or the All-Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC).These groups have been actively involved in reviewing the governments draft of the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance 2002 and the draft of Press, Newspaper Agencies Registration Ordinance 2002. APNEC and PFUJ and all their affiliated unions and units rejected the proposed setting up of a press council and press regulatory laws that the government decided to introduce to regulate the press. Journalists objected to the inclusion of government representatives and the exclusion of working journalists from what was supposed to be a self-regulating
  26. 26. rather than government-directed body. Previous legislation created under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto included a new wage board under the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973. Several years had lapsed since the previous award had been announced. Inflation as well as the preference of certain newspaper publishers to engage staff only on a contract basis meant that wageswere no longer reflective of the cost-of-living realities. One media scholar estimatedthat well over 50 percent of newspaper employees are deliberately employed on a contract basis to avoid the enforcement of relevant industrial relations laws and awards by wage boards. In fact, at a 2002 World Press Freedom Day seminar in Karachi, journalist Sajjad Mir stated that very few newspapers in the country had implemented the Wage Board Award for journalists and employees. Printing Methods Newspapers in Pakistan are mostly printed on offset. Printing and editing technologies have improved newspaper production over the years; however, the impact on circulation has not been significant. PRESS LAWS Constitutional Provisions & Guarantees The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides for its citizens fundamental rights, one of which pertains specifically to the Press, Article 19, Freedom of Speech:Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or anypart thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offense. The Constitution of Pakistan, then, guarantees the freedom of expression and freedom of the press, subject to "reasonable restrictions" that may be imposed bylaw. It is the responsibility of the judiciary to determine the scope and parameters of the permissible freedoms and the extent of restrictions placed on their enjoyment. The judiciary can play a full and effective role only if it is free and independent of any and every kind or form of control or influence. Although the judiciary hasgenerally been supportive of the freedom of expression and information, and sought to strengthen the mass media, the courts are subject to pressure from the executive branch because the president controls the appointment, transfer, and tenure of judges. The position of the judiciary has been affected by periods of military rule, and a blow was dealt to the judiciary in January 2000 when Musharraf required all judges to take an oath of loyalty to his regime. The Supreme Court Justice and five colleagues refused and were dismissed. This was just one week before the Court was to hear cases challenging the legality of Musharrafs government.The constitution also outlines the power of the president to promulgate ordinances and to suspend fundamental rights during an emergency period. Thus, following
  27. 27. Musharrafs military takeover on October 12, 1999, he suspended Pakistans constitution and assumed the additional title of Chief Executive. He appointed aneight-member National Security Council to function as the supreme governing body of Pakistan. He dissolved both the Senate and the National Assembly. New legislation has been drafted for the formation of Press Council, Access toInformation Ordinance and Press, Newspapers and Books Registration Act. On May16, 2002, the Minister of Information, along with the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and the All Pakistan Newspaper Society, released drafts for the legislation for comment and debate. Newspaper editors also urged that the Freedom of Information Act and the amended Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance be promulgated by the government, along with the Press Council Ordinance. The International Press Institute (IPI) identified major concerns including the desire to create a quasi-judicial body without proper procedures in place to provide fairness and equity. The IPI also expressed reservations about the proposed composition, its financing, and the terminology used in describing the ethical code, and made a number of recommendations for improving the draft ordinance. The PFUJ and the APNEC reacted in similar ways to the proposed legislation. In a joint statement issued on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, leaders of the two organizations said they regretted that the Press and Publication Ordinance against which the journalists community had striven for almost two decades had once again been revived and newspapers were being closed down under the same blacklaw. The statement said fresh attempts in the shape of the Press Council were being framed by Musharrafs government to silence the voice of the print media in the country. They said the PFUJ and APNEC had already rejected the idea of setting up the council and that news people were still being subjected to different pressure tactics, including threats to their lives. They demanded that the government repeal more than 16 black laws, including the Press and Publication Ordinance, and to insure implementation of the labor laws by ending exploitation of the working journalists and newspaper workers. They also called for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act to ensure easy access to information.The only other press laws in effect while the current proposed press laws are under review are general ones prohibiting publication of obscene material, inciting religious, parochial, or ethnic provocations, and anti-defamation provisions. Registration and Licensing of Newspapers & Journalists A Print, Press and Publications Ordinance, requiring the registration of printingpresses and newspapers, was allowed to lapse in 1997 after several years of waning application. In practice, registering a new publication is a simple administrative actand is not subjected to political or government scrutiny. There are no registration or licensing processes for journalists. New newspapers and presses are required to register themselves with the local administration.
  28. 28. CENSORSHIP Censorship pervades journalism history in Pakistan; certainly, the blackest censorship period came during General Zias 10-year military regime. Almost all journalists mention the press advice system as one of the most insidious means of censorship. It specified that whoever "contravenes any provision of this regulation shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine or stripes [lashes] not to exceed twenty-five." Sharif used additional means to ensure press compliance. He used intelligence operatives to infiltrate newsrooms and press unions. With so many spies doubling as reporters, and journalists moonlighting as government agents, trust became difficult for all. Monitoring of the Press The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting monitors the press. It also controls and manages the countrys primary wire service, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). APP is both the Govern-ments own news agency and the official carrier of international wire service stories to the local media. Foreign books must pass government censors before being reprinted. Books and magazines may be imported freely, but are likewise subject to censorship for objectionable sexual or religious content. English language publications have notbeen affected by the direct proscription of books and magazines promulgated by theChief Commissioner in Islamabad, who banned five Sindhi-language publications in the second half of 1997 for "objectionable material against Pakistan" (i.e., expressions of Sindhi nationalism). STATE-PRESS RELATIONSThe press has traditionally experienced the often harsh effects of Pakistans political instability. When partition resulted in the establishment of Pakistan as an independent homeland for the Muslims, the Muslim League as a political party struggled with the tasks of leading the new country into stable statehood. Factionalism, however, quickly contributed to instability, internal strife, incompetence, and corruption. The press at this point was largely a remnant of the Moslem press present during the struggle for independence, and it was seen as aggravating the problems being faced by keeping these issues out in front of the people. Thus, the government began its long history of attempting to control the press through arrests, the banning of certain publications, and other punitive measures. Between 1948 and 1956, political turbulence intensified with the assassination of the countrys first prime minister, Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1951 and thedissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 1954. However, by 1956, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was enforced; it contained an article specifically devoted to freedom of speech. The 1956 Constitution lasted less than three years when it was abrogated by the imposition of martial law in October 1958. A newenforcement of the constitution in 1962 occurred with the removal of martial law by President Ayub Khan. Although this constitution continued the recognition of an
  29. 29. initial concept of freedom of expression, in reality, a military ruler imposed theconstitution, and it contained no separate chapter on fundamental rights. The pressand the public commented on the implications of living under a constitution devoid of mention of such basic rights, which resulted in Constitutional Amendment No. 1 to the 1962 Constitution.However, in 1963, just one year after the adoption of the new constitution, the Press and Publications Ordinance (PPO) came into being. This ordinance contained theharshest of laws curtailing freedom of expression and the progressive development of the media and leading to the March 1969 relinquishing of power by President Ayub Khan to General Yahya Khan who imposed martial law. General Khan reliedheavily on one of the measures of this ordinance, the system of "press advice" givenout by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in order to avoid publication ofnews and reports deemed unsuitable for public consumption. It was also during this period that newspapers and magazines known for their independent andprogressive views were first taken over by the government. Eventually the NationalPress Trust, created in 1964, took over these journals and acted as a front to control a section of the press. In 1960, the Western Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance was promulgated. On the outside, the aim was to consolidate into one law different provisions for "preventive detention of persons" and "control of persons andpublications for reasons connected with the maintenance of public order." The realaim was to refine and reinforce the mechanism of repression. With amendments in 1963 and 1964, this law empowered the government to ban the printing of publications, to enter and search premises, and to prohibit import of newspapers,among other measures. These powers have been used by succeeding governments right up until the government of Musharraf. In 1961, the government also took over the principal news agency of the country, the APP, arguing that "administrative and financial breakdown" justified such a move. Instead of allowing private enterprise to improve the quality of the news agency, the government saw this as an opportunity to control what news would be supplied to the print media, to radio, and to the outside world.In spite of such repressive times, the press took a bold stand in providing alternative sources of news through an independent press. It was also during this time that the Press and Publications Ordinance collected under one law a number of excessive regulatory measures and punitive concepts that had previously existed in different laws and were now applied heavily to control the press. This press law (PPO) endured for 25 years before being repealed in September 1988. In December 1971, when the break-up of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh occurred, General Yahya Khan handed over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as President and Pakistans first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator who continued to use martial law up to April 1972 when an interim constitution was
  30. 30. adopted, prior to the enactment of a new constitution by the National Assembly in August 1973. Bhutto, however, reacting to criticism by various members of the press, imprisoned editors and publishers on the pretext of national security. The next five years, from 1972 to 1977, represented the beginnings of democracy; however, they were marred by repressive actions toward the press. The newconstitution, although formulated on the principles of democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech, did not deliver on these promises. The PPO remained, as did the National Press Trust. Furthermore, through coercion and manipulation, thegovernment insured that the only other news agency in the country (aside from thegovernment-owned APP), the Pakistan Press International (PPI), was brought under its authority. In 1977, General Zia ul Haq ousted Bhutto from the prime minister position and once again imposed martial law under which abuse of journalists became public rather than covert. Journalists were flogged in public at Zias whim. Althoughmartial law usually ends with a Supreme Court-imposed deadline by which elections must be held, Zia was given no such deadline, and his time in office up to August1988 had a deleterious effect on the mass media. Not one single law or regulation ofany progressive character was created during Zias rule. The only positive outcomeof Zias rule was the restoration of the news agency PPI to its original shareholders. Since then PPI provides a valuable alternative news source to the government- controlled APP. In 1985, Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo was elected to the National Assembly, based on nonparty elections, and lifted martial law in December 1985. Even though Junejo was a more democratic political figure, the PPO remained in place under him, and he relied on the old media laws. However, in May 1988 President General Zia ul Haq dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed theGovernment of Prime Minister Junejo, replacing them with a cabinet of his own and no prime minister. This arrangement only lasted 11 weeks as Haq was killed in a suspicious plane crash in August 1988. This incident resulted in the Chairman of the Senate, Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan,succeeding to the office of President as per the constitution. A caretaker government provided transition to a full-fledged democracy, which included repealing the press law that had coerced the media for so long. A new law, known as the Registration of Printing Presses and PublicationsOrdinance came into effect in 1988. A key change in this law made it mandatory for the District Magistrate to issue a receipt to an applicant for the issuance of a declaration for the keeping of a printing press or the publication of a journal to provide the applicant with proof that would help avoid government interference. The most significant change made in the press law of 1988 was the removal of power from the government and the right of an applicant to be heard in person by
  31. 31. the authority before any punitive action was taken, like the closure of a press. Appeals were also now allowed. In addition, newspapers were no longer obligated to publish in full the press notes issued by the government.For a variety of reasons, the press law of 1988 continued to be re-promulgated as an ordinance through 1997, even though the Supreme Court ruled such re- promulgation unconstitutional. One key reason for this was the recurring demandsby representative bodies of the press to revise the 1988 law even further to remove any executive power to control the press. The November 1988 elections saw Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the first Muslim woman prime minister of the world, assume office. She brought with her a new phase of liberalism toward the mass media laws and regulations. For example, Bhuttos government allowed government-controlled radio and television to provide daily and well-balanced coverage of the speeches and statements of itsopposition in news bulletins and current affairs programs. Because the print media reaches such a small percentage of the population, this change had a significantimpact on the pubic, but was returned to the old, one-sided coverage after only four months because of pressure on Bhutto by her party, the Pakistan Peoples Party. The independent press grew stronger during this phase; the Urdu press and the English press, as well as the regional language press, such as Sindh languagenewspapers, showed a new energy in reporting the news and in analyzing the issues of the day. In addition, new technology and use of computers and desktop publishing allowed a more timely and in-depth reporting of the news. Bhutto also ended the manipulative government practice of using newsprint as a means of controlling the press. Specifically, the Ministry of Information no longer required issuance of permits to import newsprint and allowed a free and open system of importing newsprint at market prices.In 1990, President Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhuttos government, charging them with misconduct, and declared a state of emergency. Bhutto and her party lost theOctober elections, and the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, took over. For reasonsnot apparent to the public, Sharif restored the issuance of permits system for news- print import.The charges against Bhutto were resolved, and after a bitter campaign, the PPP was returned to power in October 1993, and Bhutto was again named prime minister.She was ousted again in 1996 amid charges of corruption, a caretaker government was installed, and Sharif defeated Bhutto in the February 1997 elections.In Sharifs two and one-half years in power, he used many heavy-handed methods to deal with journalists who dared to criticize his government. He put tremendous pressure on independent journalists, using both covert and overt means of retribution. His Pakistan Muslim League party (PML) achieved a landslide electoral victory in the National Assembly, which made Sharif believe he had been given a
  32. 32. "heavy mandate" to rule the country as he saw fit. He was able to cast aside alldemocratic checks on his power, except for the press. In the end, the press survived whereas Sharif did not. The press, in fact, through its wide reporting of Sharifs abuse of power, prepared the Pakistani people for General Pervez Musharrafs military coup on October 12, 1999.In May 2000 Musharrafs regime was strengthened by a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to validate the October 1999 coup as having been necessary; at the same time the Court announced that the Chief Executive should name a date notlater than 90 days before the expiry of the three-year period from October 12, 1999for the holding of elections to the National Assembly, the provincial assemblies, and the Senate.In Pakistan today a cooperative effort appears to be underway between Musharrafs government and the journalism community. In general, Musharrafs administration seems to follow a more liberal policy towards the press with fewer restrictions andmuch less manipulation. However, reports vary widely. Whereas the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reported continued harassment of and dangers to journalists, some journalists currently working for Pakistani newspapers offer another version of the situation. A. R. Khaliq, assistant editor for Business Recorder, reported that "the press, by and large, is not faced with any coercion or abuse under Musharraf." ATTITUDE TOWARD FOREIGN MEDIA Foreign Correspondents The official Press and Information Departments under the Ministry of Informationhandle accreditation procedures for foreign correspondents. Special visas are required if long stays are intended. Pakistan rarely grants visas to Indian journalists or journalists of Indian origin. The presence of foreign journalists in Pakistan has intensified with the UnitedStates search for Osama bin Laden after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Pakistans proximity to Afghanistan provides the media with a base from which to operate as they report the news to the world. The killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl by extremists in Pakistan brought much unwanted attention toMusharrafs government, and the United States has urged Pakistans government to place a ban on the publications of as many as 22 magazines that serve as propaganda machines of the different religious and Jihadi organizations, which appear from Karachi, Lahore and Muzaffarabad. The ban is the extension of measures set by the United Nations Security Council Sanction Committee and the United States government against the terrorist individuals and entities. Foreign Ownership of Domestic MediaPrevious press laws included provisions restricting foreign ownership in the press.The law specified that a non-citizen of Pakistan could hold shares in any newspaperonly with the previous approval of the government and only if such participation inownership did not exceed 25 percent of the entire proprietary interest. Information
  33. 33. on foreign ownership provisions in the proposed new press laws is unavailable. Domestic Contacts with International Press Organizations International press organizations are very active in Pakistan, especially in terms ofmonitoring the freedom of the press. The Pakistan Press Foundation, for example, is a nonprofit media research, documentation and training center committed to promoting freedom of the press in Pakistan and internationally. The foundationproduces PPF NewsFlash, a service designed to highlight threats to press freedom in Pakistan.The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives, and leading journalists dedicated to the freedom of the press and improving the standards and practices of journalism, not only sponsors the annual World Press Freedom Day but also provides a World Press Freedom Review on journalism inPakistan and the other 110 member countries. This organization was instrumentalin sponsoring various seminars on World Press Freedom Day that allowed national debate and focus on the proposed new Press Council and press laws. A third organization, Committee to Protect Journalists, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the global defense of press freedom. This organization publishes special reports such as its 2000 publication of "Pakistan: The Press for Change." They also maintain a web site with regional homepages covering each country. NEWS AGENCIES The Ministry of Information controls and manages the countrys primary wire service, the APP. APP is both the governments own news agency and the official carrier of international wire service stories to the local media. The launching of aWeb site by APP enables readers to browse and download the latest news. The news service is now directly fed into the computers of the subscribers simultaneouslythroughout Pakistan and overseas. Besides publishing in the English language, APP also issues news items in Urdu. The other primary news agency in Pakistan is the PPI, a private independent news agency. Several other news agencies have also emerged in recent years, some funded by political groups. The few small privately owned wire services are circumspect in their coverage of sensitive domestic news and tend to follow a government line. Foreign news bureaus include Agence France-Presse (France), Agenzia NazionaleStampa Associata (Italy), Associated Press (United States), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany), Inter Press Service (Italy), Reuters (United Kingdom), United PressInternational (United States), and Xinhua News Agency (Peoples Republic of China). All are located in the capital of Islamabad. BROADCAST MEDIA

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