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Press is Pressed in Pakistan

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Pakistan is considered one of the most insecure and unsafe states for those exercising or trying to exercise the right to freedom of press and freedom of expression. Curbs on freedom of expression have been reported by many notable and well-known organisations working for the freedom of expression and human rights.

The establishment has always faced severe criticism by global organisations and human rights defenders for its intervention in the democratic setup and putting barriers in the way of freedom of expression.

The situation for press freedom went worst when a well-known human rights organisation Amnesty International in its 2017 annual report highlighted the abduction of five independent bloggers who were the vocal critic of the intervention in the democratic system.

They were: Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmad Raza and Samar Abbas.

The most embarrassing time was when the activists, who had campaigned for their release, were subjected to life threats and accused them of being anti-Pakistan, anti-army and anti-Islam.

According to the Human Rights Watch (a global organisation working for the human rights), journalists increasingly practiced self-censorship after the attacks by the security forces and militant groups in retaliation to the critical articles and reporting.

Zeenat Shehzadi, the first female journalist to be forcibly abducted, was found near the Afghanistan border in October, 26 months after she went missing in Lahore. She disappeared again in November.

Meanwhile, prominent journalists of electronic and print media like Matiullah Jan, Ahmad Noorani and Hamid Mir have also been attacked by the unidentified men.

But a new form of censorship has been applied after the present government took the office, wherein many prominent media organisations have sacked hundreds of employees without issuing any showcase notice to them.

It is obviously a very tough time for the media in Pakistan because firing a large number of employees will take them all to streets and it can pave the way for an unstoppable chaos. In fact, a ground reality has been created for the human rights organisations to place Pakistan among the worst countries for the freedom of press in their next annual report.

It will make the rest of the world to believe that the press in Pakistan has been pressed and thus global community will definitely react hard to this.

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