Pakistan media raises concern over censorship by state institutions

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As the plight of journalists in Pakistan continues to remain a grave concern, the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) has expressed concerns about the disappearance of journalists in the country, reported Dawn news.

Dawn is a Pakistani Daily reporting on the current events of Pakistan related to Politics and social issues.

Additionally, it warned against “undeclared censorship” and unjustified government and state institution intervention with media operations.

The association held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss challenges faced by the media in the South Asian country.

The censorship “imposed by the government and other state institutions” was lamented by attendees, according to a news release published following the meeting.

The summit also urged journalists to avoid becoming politicised, naming certain journalists, anchorpersons, and media professionals whose actions “cannot be excused as journalism” both in person and on social media, Dawn reported.

However, it added, one cannot support or remain silent in the face of the forced abduction of any person, whether a political activist or a journalist.

The gathering encouraged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to pay attention to the disappearance of the journalists, as per Dawn.

Recently, a senior Pakistani journalist Sami Abraham was reportedly ‘abducted’ by unidentified men in Islamabad on May 24, his family claimed, saying that there was no information available regarding his location.

Abraham was detained by law enforcement. Abraham’s brother Ali Raza has reported a complaint of abduction to the Aabpara Police Station in the federal capital, according to Dawn.

The application claimed that at around 9 o’clock, Abraham, who had just left the BOL TV headquarters and was en route home, was stopped by four vehicles, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

He was taken against his will by a group of eight to ten unidentifiable individuals who suddenly emerged from the cars.

Notably, Sami Abraham is a leading Pakistani journalist and an anchor with the privately-owned broadcaster BOL News.

Pakistan continues to remain “one of the most dangerous countries” for journalists. As per the New Pakistan report, journalists in Pakistan have been killed by militants, insurgents, and “unidentified state actors.”

While quoting an editorial from Dawn, the report stated, “The common thread in these killings is that truth and justice are elusive, and killers walk free while families look in vain for answers.”

Citing the death of journalist Arshad Sharif, the report said that his killing in Kenya under mysterious circumstances shows the “chilling reality” that “Pakistani journalists and dissidents are not safe from threats even outside the country.”

Arshad Sharif (49), a senior Pakistani journalist was killed in cold blood on October 24 in Kenya when he was driving from Magadi to Nairobi, accompanied by his brother Khurram Ahmed at around 10 pm.

Sharif’s death left rights organisations, the media fraternity, and civil society shocked and they called for an investigation into the matter. 

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