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PM Imran Khan Listed Among ‘Predators Of Press Freedom’ Alongside Modi, MBS

Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), an international organisation working for freedom of expression, has published a gallery with portraits of ‘predators of press freedom’ — 37 world leaders who have been curbing free speech in their countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan is included in the list alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and 34 other world leaders.

Titled “RSF’s 2021: Press freedom predators gallery – old tyrants, two women and a European”, the list features seventeen leaders who have not been featured before.

About Imran Khan, the RSF notes that journalists have been threatened, abducted and tortured under his watch. “Cases of brazen censorship are legion since Khan became prime minister. Newspaper distribution has been interrupted, media outlets have been threatened with the withdrawal of advertising and TV channel signals have been jammed. Journalists who cross the red lines have been threatened, abducted and tortured. In the shadows, behind Khan in the limelight, Pakistan is reliving some of the worst moments of its past military dictatorships.”

The report further says, “Cyberspace, the last sanctuary for free speech and freely-reported news and information, is being subjected to increasingly draconian censorship measures by Khan’s government, while troll armies harass and vilify all journalists and bloggers who dare express criticism, automatically labelling them as anti-Pakistan, anti-military and… anti-Khan. The circle is complete.”

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam are the two women leaders on the list. Sheikh Hasina’s decision to adopt a digital security law in 2018 under which over 70 journalists and bloggers were prosecuted has made her feature on the list. Carrie Lam has been termed by the RSF as a puppet of China who openly backs ‘predatory policies’ against media.

European Prime Minister, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, has also been featured on the list for the first time.

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Naya Daur