In the history of Pakistan’s journalism, the year 2018 has disappeared by incorporating countless secrets and events within itself. The story of undeclared censorship in the heat of the election, the diluted financial condition of the journalists, the action of ‘pressure’ on media institutions, the thinking of the town journalists against the crime, the blatant expression of the journalists trapped in the claims and local journalists in Karachi Stories that created an atmosphere of fear in the chest were recorded throughout the year.
The date is witness that Azad press in Pakistan has always faced danger not only from military dictatorship but also from the ‘flag-bearer’ parties of democracy. Pakistan ranked number 139 out of 180 countries in 2018 in the International Press Reporters Withoutout Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.
The eyes of the world were focused on the general elections held in Pakistan on July 25, 2018, during which the ‘Media Meters for Democracy’ prepared a detailed report on the challenges of media and journalists before the elections i.e. April, May and June. According to the just three months before the election, 23 cases of self-censorship were filed, including murder of journalists, attacks on them, legal actions against them.
Journalists killed on duty
Pakistan is not a victim of war or civil war, but in spite of this the cases of killing of journalists are much higher than other countries. The International News Safety Institute (INSI) had mentioned in its report that in the year 2017, there were murders of 60 journalists and media persons worldwide, including nine of them women. In 2016, 112 journalists were murdered, including three women journalists, while in 2015 101 journalists including 10 women were murdered.
The challenges and difficulties that the media fraternity faced in Pakistan during the year 2018, and the journalists who were murdered untimely, are all mentioned in detail below:
On January 10, an attempt was made to kidnap Taha Siddiqui, a journalist associated with the Foreign Media Institute in Islamabad. According to Taha Siddiqui, he saved himself from being abducted by jumping from a moving vehicle. Later it was revealed that Taha Siddiqui went abroad with his entire family, fearing an attack on him.
Yellow journalism day
On January 24, journalist and political analyst Dr Shahid Masoud claimed in a program on a private channel that Imran Ali, the criminal of the six-year-old Zainab Amin murder case, is not a landowner but has 37 bank accounts and is an international organization. Member, while this organization indirectly includes a minister of the Punjab government.
Following this claim, Supreme Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took notice and a Special Investigation Team (JIT) was also formed, but Dr Shahid Masaud could not produce any concrete evidence in favor of his claim, on which the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar banned Dr. Shahid Masoud’s program for three months.
American Broadcasting Institutions Restricted
On 19 January, the Home Minister banned ‘Radio Mishal’ broadcasting in Pashto language since 2010 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In this regard, the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) recommended to the Home Minister that the broadcasting of Radio Mishal run by ‘Radio Free Europe’ with the help of US funds is a conspiracy against ‘Pakistani ideology’.
Radio Mishal used to broadcast on the Pak-Afghan border areas. Although it started in 2010. The purpose of its broadcasting was told to give correct information against the radio transmitters of the fundamentalists of the area.
Earlier, on December 6, 2017, Russia also banned Broadcasting of Radio Freedom Europe, including Voice of America, as a traitor.
Online in security bill
On 2 February, the Digital Rights Foundation (TIF) presented a report related to online security of journalists, stating that the Journalist Protection Bill did not include any clause relating to online in-security.
According to the data, 68 percent of Pakistani journalists are getting into these security online, they are facing black maling, hacking, threats, rape, theft of stationery and espionage. 45.5 percent of journalists are forced into self-censorship due to lack of online security.
In the second aspect of the report, the emphasis has been laid on the lawmakers that the sections related to these security should also be included in the Journalist Protection Bill.
Journalist Siddique Baloch died
On February 6, Siddiqui Baloch, a journalist who was a hero of Baloch rights, passed away. He started his journalism career with Don Akhbar in the early 1960s. He was associated with this media institute for almost 29 years.
Siddiqui Baloch aka Mama Siddique joined the first English-language Baloch daily newspaper ‘Balochistan Express’ in 1990 and in 2002 he started a daily newspaper ‘Azad’.
Journalist Ashfaq Sajid died
On February 14, senior journalist from Islamabad Ashfaq Sajid died in CMH Lahore after battling for some time with blood cancer. Ashfaq Sajid belonged to Associate Press of Pakistan and was also the President of Islamabad Union of Journalists.
International Support Network for Women
A report was published on 27 February, according to which women belonging to journalism sector
Addiction asked journalist Cyril Almeida to appear in court.
Editor Ilias died
Ilyas Shakir, editor of the prestigious evening newspaper ‘Qaumi Akhbar’, published from Karachi on 8 September, died in Zuma and Saturday. Ilyas Shakir died of heart racing.
On October 17, senior journalist, writer and scholar Sheikh Aziz also died in Karachi at the age of 79 due to a heart attack.
Sheikh Aziz suffered a heart attack on the super highway near Nooribad, on which he was admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad. But basic facilities were not available there. Later his family admitted him to Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi where he underwent angioplasty. Aziz Saheb’s son Tariq Aziz told that he talked to the family but then he passed away after a while.
Attack on Island of Freedom (Karachi Press Club)
On November 8, some armed men who came in plain veneer attacked the iconic Karachi Press Club (KPC) building in Pakistan. Dozens of armed men entered the KPC building at 10:30 pm in a plain veneer. He threatened journalists. Took stock of different rooms, kitchens, upper floors of the building and sports hall. Along with this, he also made videos and took pictures with the camera of the mobile phone.
When those armed men were questioned on behalf of journalists, the armed gang did not give any logical answer to their questions. The armed 6 came loaded in vehicles like Double Cabins, Land Cruisers and Parados. A police car was also present with him. Journalists’ organizations staged protests across the country against the attack on the Karachi Press Club.
On November 10, a team of the investigating agency picked up senior journalist Nazrullah Khan Chaudhary from his house. He was accused of keeping banned literature. Nazrullah participated in demonstrations against the attack on the Karachi Press Club. After his arrest, the statements issued by PFUJ and KUJ said that this is a way to silence the journalists who are protesting against the attack on Karachi Press Club.