The 2020 World Press Freedom index was released by Reporters Without Borders. Pakistan has dropped down by three more places to reach 145th position out of 180 countries.
For the fourth consecutive year the top position remained with Norway. This was followed by other Scandinavian countries. The lowest ranking was given to North Korea. China remained at 177th position this year.
Other countries that slipped from their positions included India. The ranking of India dropped from 140t.h last year to 142nd. Iran’s ranking dropped to 173rd while the ranking of Afghanistan dropped to 122nd position.
In Pakistan, the media outlets have been threatened to withdraw advertising. The TV channels signals that gave airtime to opposition representatives have been jammed. Journalists have been subjected to harassment campaigns if they dared to take on subjects considered off limits by the military.
The establishment also started removing the content not to its liking on the internet and social media. The government has tried to increase online “regulation”, which clearly means censorship.
Journalists are at most risk in the field especially in areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In these areas journalists also suffer in the crossfire between the security forces and militants.
In 2019, four journalists and a blogger got killed in link with their reporting. Another journalist got killed in 2020.
The RSF stated, “The influence of establishment has increased dramatically since Imran Khan became prime minister in July 2018. There have been many cases of brazen censorship in which the military have used a number of methods for exercising pressure. Distribution of newspapers, especially the leading daily Dawn, has been interrupted.”