KARACHI: At least 86 cases of attacks and violations against media and its practitioners, including journalists, took place in Pakistan over the course of one year — between May 2021 and April 2022.

While the overall number of documented violations in the preceding year have gone down several notches, there is a continuing trend of targeting journalists wor­king for digital media, accor­ding to the research and analysis report by Freedom Network, an award-winning Pakistan-based media rights watchdog that tracks violations against journalists and attacks on freedom of expr­ession on an ongoing basis.

The report, released to mark the World Press Freedom Day observed globally on May 3, reveals that the state actors continue to be the largest threat source for journalists in Pakistan in a period marked by a dramatic escalation of coercion by the former Imran Khan government resulting in violence, legal cases, abductions, detentions and threats.

“As the digital media landscape is the new horizon over Pakistan, the government is more than anxious to crack down on online freedom and digital journalists are systematic target of harassment, abuses and legal thre­ats. We must protect our borderless Internet freedom,” Iqbal Khattak, the executive director of Freedom Network, said.

The data shows that no place in the four provinces, Islamabad or even Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir is safe — attacks against journalists are taking place everywhere.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2022

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