Pakistani Journalists Turn To Satire Amidst Curbs On Free Speech
2018 was a difficult year for journalists in Pakistan as hundreds were fired due to a ‘financial crunch’. Among those were senior journalists and anchorpersons Matiullah Jan and Talat Hussain as well.
While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and media owners cite ‘financial crunch’ for the lay-offs, many journalists believe that the reasons are more sinister. In their opinion, the government has tried to ‘financially squeeze dissenting voices in media’.
Several fired journalists and anchors have started using Social Media networks to opine over matters of public concern and stay connected to the audience. Matiullah Jan too has done that, but he is doing it in a satirical and interesting way.
Jan has started a satirical video series on Youtube titled ‘Funny Gala’, a play on Bani Gala in which he mimics Prime Minister Imran Khan and has other journalist friends doing the supporting bit. The series has become widely popular on social media.
— MARCO POLO (@FawadFiaz) March 22, 2019
The Funny Gala Series
Jan also made a hilarious video on the arrest and later release of Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
— Matiullah Jan (@Matiullahjan919) March 1, 2019
In January, the federal cabinet approved formation of Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA), a merger of all media regulatory bodies, which will watch over the broadcast, print and social media.
Journalists opposed the move saying that it was means to strengthen curbs on free speech and free media.
Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Director of Cybercrime Wing on Wednesday directed action against senior journalists, social media activists and religio-political groups for ‘a targeted social media campaign’ against Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s recent visit to Pakistan. Click link above to read full story.